Lawmakers Propose Immunity For Users During Overdoses And Other Bills To Battle Heroin Crisis

Reps Sprague and Driehaus present their bill.
Credit Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Two Ohio lawmakers are backing a package of bills they say will help crack down on drug overdoses – especially involving heroin, which state stats show is responsible for nearly half of all overdose deaths.

One of the bills is called the Good Samaritan Act, which Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) said provides immunity from minor drug possession charges for drug users who call for help for another user who may be overdosing. “It is about not getting in the way of the other person using who is not overdosing doing the right thing,” said Driehaus.

But Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) says the protection doesn’t extend forever. “We will still be able to go after drug dealers if they have more than a gram,” said Sprague.

Credit Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

One bill would require insurers to cover pills that are difficult to crush and therefore harder to abuse, and another would set limits on the lengths of prescriptions for painkillers, to ensure they’re not being written for a larger supply than is medically necessary.