California’s lawmakers in both the house and the senate have approved a new law giving immunity to 9-1-1 callers who report an overdose.

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Introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), the bill, Assembly Bill 472 provides that neither the overdose victim nor a person who seeks emergency treatment for him shall be charged with the crime of drug possession, being under the influence of drugs, or drug possession, provided the drugs are for personal use.

Other similar “Good Samaritan” bills are on the books in nine other states.

In asking his colleagues to vote for the measure, Ammiano noted that more people die from drug overdoses than car crashes.

“This is not going soft on crime,” said Assemblyman Donald Wagner (R-Irvine). While he added that he does not condone drug use, he said it was necessary to “overlook some indiscretions for the greater good.”

“It’s critically important to save lives,” said Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen (R-Modesto). “This bill doesn’t condone drug behavior.”

Excellent work in California.

The key to remember is trying to send out the anti-drug message before teens and young adults get to the point where they are overdosing on medications.

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