Maryland General Assembly Passes County Executive’s Top State Legislative Priority to Combat Heroin Epidemic
Annapolis, MD (April 10, 2015) –The Maryland Senate today passed House Bill 368, County Executive Steve Schuh’s top state legislative priority to allow immunity from civil liability for first responders administering medication and treatment for apparent drug overdoses.
This legislation was necessary to protect police officers, firefighters, and paramedics as they try to combat the heroin epidemic across Maryland.
“HB 368 will protect those who work every day to save the lives of our citizens struggling with addiction,” said Schuh. “This victory would not have been possible without the hard work of Anne Arundel County Delegation Chairwoman Pam Beidle and the entire Anne Arundel House and Senate Delegation. Their strong support was crucial in pushing this bill through the General Assembly.”
"It was my pleasure to shepherd this important bill through the General Assembly at the request of County Executive Schuh,” said Delegate Beidle. “Protecting our first responders from liability while they use the available tools to save the lives of our citizens is a high priority of the Anne Arundel County Delegation."
Anne Arundel County first responders use the medicine Naloxone, which immediately reverses a heroin overdose. Emergency personnel deciding to use Naloxone or another product to counteract an opioid overdose only have a few moments to decide what the situation is and deliver the medication to save a life. House Bill 368 will protect these trained personnel from civil lawsuits if they act responsibly.
“This legislation will help our first responders give the best care needed to those in the midst of an overdose,” said Police Chief Tim Altomare. “This needed protection for our personnel will help us in our efforts.”
House Bill 368 passed the Senate 47-0. The identical bill passed the House of Delegates on March 19th with a vote of 137-0. This bill will now go to the Governor for his signature.