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Georgia ‘amnesty’ law aims to reduce number of drug overdoses

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill into law Thursday aimed at reducing the number of drug overdoses.

House Bill 965, also called the “911 Medical Amnesty Law,” grants immunity to some people who call seeking medical help if they overdose on a drug.

Supporters cited the cases of two Georgia men who died of accidental overdoses after their friends refused to call 911 over fears they would be prosecuted. At least 14 other states have passed similar laws, and the bill’s sponsors say it is credited for saving more than 120 lives in Massachusetts since it took effect in 2012.

The new law, which takes immediate effect, says that anyone seeking medical assistance for themselves or someone else for a drug overdose can’t be charged if the evidence of a drug violation results “solely from seeking such medical assistance.”

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