Bill Would Create Immunity for 911 Overdose Calls

Jan 23, 2013


Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill — backed by law enforcement — to make people immune from prosecution on drug charges when they call 911 to report a friend is overdosing and in danger of death.

Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan, Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn and Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen say their hope is not to condone drug use, but to reduce the number of drug overdose deaths. There were 73 in Vermont in 2012.

Donovan cited the case of Phat Nguyen, a Minnesota man who was sharing drugs with friends while visiting Vermont in 2007. He ended up convicted of dispensing drugs with death resulting when one of them died. Donovan says people should be encouraged to call 911 in such cases.

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