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House passes bill to protect minors who report prescription drug overdoses

Courtney Rhodes
flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

People under 21 could avoid prescription drug-related charges when reporting a drug-related medical emergency. That's under a bill recently unanimously passed by the Michigan House and sent to the Senate.

The bill would exempt minors from prosecution  if they call 911 to get help for a prescription drug-related overdose or health emergency.

Representative Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, sponsor of the bill, says prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in Michigan. He hopes the bill will reduce the number of drug deaths.

"For a young person, we shouldn't be afraid to save a life," said Pscholka. "And we've got instances in my district and across the state with prescription drugs where minors have been afraid to call the police or take someone to the emergency room when someone is in trouble. So what this bill does is allow for some limited immunity so that can happen and so folks are not afraid to save a life. "

The exemption applies only to an amount considered to be for personal use. It does not apply to nonprescription controlled substances like heroin.

Michigan already has a "good Samaritan" exemption for minors getting help for a person in danger from alcohol intoxication.