Supporters said the so-called Good Samaritan law needed to be expanded as the state grapples with an epidemic of fatal overdoses that grew nearly 25%, topping 600, last year.
The original law adopted in 2019 grants immunity to a person who overdoses and to the person who calls 911 for help. The expanded bill would provide immunity to everyone at the scene with some exceptions, including evidence of crimes against children or sex crimes.
The goal is to encourage people to help instead of declining to report an overdose for fear of being arrested, supporters said.
Sen. Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, said too many people are fleeing to avoid arrest instead of staying to help. “They are caught between a punishing criminal justice system and saving a life,” she said last week.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, a former prosecutor, has expressed reservations about the bill. She proposed a more limited expansion.
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