Reps. Pscholka, Singh say changes will help prevent overdose deaths
Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by state Reps. Al Pscholka and Sam Singh to expand the Good Samaritan law, extending limited exemptions from prosecution to individuals of any age for overdoses involving all controlled substances.
House Bill 5649, introduced by state Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, and HB 5650, introduced by state Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, expand Rep. Pscholka’s Public Act 220 of 2015, which exempts individuals under age 21 from certain prescription drug-related criminal charges in the event they are reporting life-threatening overdoses.
“Drug overdoses are becoming a bigger and bigger problem in Michigan,” said Rep. Pscholka. “This legislation is invaluable in terms of getting those experiencing an overdose the help they need, without hesitation from a minor witness. I’m pleased to see this very important bill package signed into law this week.”
Rep. Singh also praised the Legislature’s quick action to approve the life-saving legislation.
“When someone is in need of serious medical attention, people shouldn’t have to worry about getting in trouble if they call for help,” Rep. Singh said. “I’m confident that offering this limited protection will ultimately save lives.”
PA 220 was introduced after the death of Mason Mizwicki, a Watervliet teen who passed away during a New Year’s Eve party because of a prescription drug overdose. His mother, Lori Mizwicki, said many of Mason’s friends were present at the party who could have called for help, but didn’t because they feared criminal charges. Lori Mizwicki and Mason’s aunt, Brandi Huyser, urged expansion of the original bill during committee testimony earlier this year.
“Mason’s legacy will not be his death, but the lives that will be saved by this law,” Rep. Pscholka said.
The bills are now Public Acts 307-308 of 2016.