Pubdate: Mon, 02 Jan 2017
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2017 Detroit Free Press
Author: Kathleen Gray


LANSING Lawmakers gave final, and unanimous, passage to a bill Wednesday
that they hope will help lower the number of drug overdose deaths from
prescription drugs.

The Good Samaritan bill, which passed the state Senate on a 38-0 vote,
would provide immunity from criminal charges for people under the age of
21 who are seeking emergency medical assistance for themselves or friends
as a result of a prescription drug overdose.

The bill, which would require health care facilities to notify the parent
or guardian of the young person suffering from an overdose, was passed
unanimously in the House last month.

The bill was partly inspired by the case of 16-year-old Mason Mizwicki of
Watervliet, who died of a methadone overdose after a New Year's Eve Party
in January. He died after repeatedly asking for help, but other teens at
the party didn't help for fear of prosecution.

"Our goal was to create a space for frank and honest discussions about
prescription drug abuse," said Lori Mizwicki, Mason's mother, who
testified on behalf of the legislation in both House and Senate
committees. "We need to help make both adults and young people aware just
how widespread this problem is. Drug abuse can deny these kids the future
they deserve."

While the bill got unanimous support in the House, some lawmakers,
including state Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, said he would like it to
extend to people who are seeking assistance for overdoses from illegal
drugs, too.

The bill now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder.
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