A bill being considered in the Illinois Assembly would give legal immunity to people who call for medical assistance for drug users who overdose.
Critics of the bill say it would benefit people who abuse and deal drugs, but supporters say it will save lives, The Chicago Tribune reports. The bill has been passed by the state Senate, after being amended. The original bill did not limit the amount of drugs a person could possess and still be granted immunity for calling in a drug overdose. However the amended bill limits the amount of drugs that person can possess and still gain immunity. The bill would not allow immunity for people under investigation for drug trafficking.
According to the article, proponents of the bill say it will not only save lives, but also could help police collect information about drug use and get help for more people who need drug rehabilitation.
Law enforcement officials want the bill to be tougher on people who use drugs, the newspaper says. The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police wants the bill to offer legal immunity only to the person who overdoses. They would like the fate of the person who calls in the emergency to be left to a judge’s discretion during sentencing.