“Right now in the U.S. and Utah, [overdose] is the number one cause of accidental death,” Representative Carol Spackman Moss (Democrat – Salt Lake City) told her fellow lawmakers. “We need to have some kind of remedy.”
Instead of watching a friend of family member overdose without calling an ambulance, for fear of being arrested for drug possession, HB 11 allows Utahns to report overdoses without fear of being prosecuted. However, the law does not make those 911 calls anonymous, leaving some lawmakers concerned.
Representative Brian Greene (Republican – Pleasant Grove) says he doesn’t feel convinced the bill would address the issue at hand. “Let’s say there is there is someone who has a habitual problem with substances but have so far been able to evade prosecution,” said Greene, “They may be discourage to call the police for fear to be on the police department’s radar.”
But Moss says that Good Samaritans need to “take personal responsibility” when deciding to call for help. She added that while the personal information of callers would be collected, the police force would be discouraged from using it in other investigations.
Ultimately the bill received passed the House with a vote of 68-0, and will move to the Senate where it is also expected to pass.