Governor Janet Mills today signed into law LD 329, An Act To Exempt from Criminal Liability Persons Reporting a Drug-related Medical Emergency, sponsored by Representative Barbara Cardone of Bangor and passed unanimously by the Legislature.
Maine now joins forty other states and the District of Columbia in enacting some form of a Good Samaritan or 911 drug immunity law.
“As Maine continues to grapple with the opioid epidemic, arresting and prosecuting someone at their most desperate moment when their friend or family member is experiencing a medical emergency will not solve the problem. In fact, it discourages people from calling for help,” said Governor Mills. “By signing this legislation, we take another step toward ensuring people seek help to survive an overdose and can pursue life-saving treatment for substance use disorder. I thank Representative Cardone for bringing forward this legislation and securing overwhelming bipartisan support in the Legislature for its passage.”
“When someone is experiencing a drug-related overdose, the most important action that person, or someone with that person, can take is calling for medical help. By signing this bill into law, Gov. Mills is eliminating the fear that comes with contacting authorities and protecting the lives of Mainers,” said Representative Cardone, D-Bangor.
LD 329 prevents a person who, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for a person experiencing a drug-related overdose or who is themselves experiencing a drug-related overdose and is need of medical assistance from being arrested or prosecuted for a violation of laws prohibiting the possession of scheduled drugs, acquiring drugs by deception, the possession of hypodermic apparatuses and the use of drug paraphernalia or a violation of probation, if the grounds for arrest or prosecution are obtained as a result of the person’s seeking medical assistance or experiencing a drug-related overdose.
Upon Governor Mills’ signature, LD 329 will take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature.