New Bill Proposes Mandatory Treatment for Drug Overdose Victims
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has proposed a new bill that would order individuals who have suffered a drug overdose and survived to submit to mandatory drug treatment or otherwise face prosecution on a drug charge, which if resulting in a conviction, could result in jail time and heavy fines.
Pennsylvania currently protects overdose survivors from prosecution through something called the ‘Good Samaritan’ law. However, many believe that the current law doesn’t do enough to help prevent these individuals from overdosing again.
If you are facing charges on drug possession or even worse, you need dependable legal representation to fight for the best possible outcome in your case. The team of Pittsburgh drug lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC has experience defending clients for more than 10 years.
The Proposed Drug Treatment Law
The new Pennsylvania bill introduced by Rep. Frank Burns (D-Cambria County) stipulates that drug overdose victims may not be charged with the crime and shall be exempt from prosecution if they enter a drug treatment program within 30 days.
Burns introduced the legislation feeling that there was a need for overdose victims to face consequences for their actions – that there was a level of responsibility they must take for overdosing on drugs. The proposal also stems from the fact that the lives of not only the victim are adversely affected due to an overdose, but also the lives of loved ones, friends, and potentially others.
Representative Burns stated that under the law, surviving drug overdose victims would be monitored as to whether they attended drug rehab. If they failed to do so, a warrant would be handed out for their arrest, and they would be arrested.
Who Will Pay for the Mandatory Drug Treatment?
In February of this year, Rep. Burns sent letters to Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro requesting that they take legal action against all pharmaceutical companies that bear responsibility for the current opioid crisis in the Commonwealth.
Burns wrote, “I urge you to file a lawsuit against any and all pharmaceutical companies responsible for this crisis because of their negligence in informing consumers of the dangers of these types of drugs and their ruthless promotion of their use.”
He further wrote, “’Big Pharma’ is lining its pockets and the wallets of doctors who prescribe these medications, while the number of people addicted and affected in the commonwealth continues to rise.”
In fact, the Attorney General is currently investigating possible practices of these companies which may be unlawful regarding the promotion and sale of opioids. Based on the news that the Attorney General along with other experienced state prosecutors are investigating the role of drug manufacturers in the states opioid crisis, Rep. Burns hopes that the results of the investigation will produce a lawsuit against these companies.
The proposal offered by Burns would have any funds received from a successful lawsuit against the pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for the mandatory drug treatment called for in the new Pennsylvania bill. The state representative’s position is that it would not be right to ask the taxpayers to cover the cost of the bill’s proposed drug treatment since the taxpayers did not create the opioid problem in the first place. He believes that the drug companies have misled the public on the true addictive nature of these drugs.
Contact an Experienced Pittsburgh Drug Crimes Attorney
If you currently find yourself in legal jeopardy due to a drug crime charge filed against you, don’t hesitate to get the legal help you need. The experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC are here to fight for your rights.
Call us today at (412) 281-2146 to set up a free consultation about your case.