Credit: Kyle Pfannenstiel
Drug overdose immunity: Reps. Chew and Kingsley presenting the immunity bill. Kingsley poses as he jokes that a Democrat and a Republican are co-sponsoring a bill.
As of Saturday, February 17, 2018
The House Health & Welfare Committee introduced two bills related to controlled substances Tuesday, Feb. 13.
The first was a legal immunity bill that applies to people seeking treatment for overdoses. The second was a modified version of a bill legalizing prescription use of CBD oil that was introduced two weeks ago.
The legal immunity bill is in response to the opioid epidemic that has engulfed rural states, like Idaho, with high numbers of deaths from overdoses.
“This is very important and states that have introduced this bill have seen a decrease in opioid overdose deaths by 30 percent,” said Rep. Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston, who co-sponsored the legislation. “It’s a lot of lives that we can save with this bill and I would appreciate your support.”
Rep. Sue Chew, D-Boise, the bill’s co-sponsor, said the ‘Good Samaritan’ law has gained wide support in Ada County town hall meetings on the crisis.
“The heroin that we’re getting, often times, is laced with fentanyl and other very powerful substances that are instantly lethal,” she said. “So, we hope that a bill like this, a Good Samaritan piece of legislation might be helpful.”
The immunity bill would only extend immunity to those that seek medical assistance for someone, including themselves, “due to the use of a controlled substance.” It stipulates that the person must remain on the scene until emergency personnel arrive and that they cooperate with them. The only legal immunities offered are from prosecution for illegal use, possession or being under the influence of a controlled substance.
The bill legalizing prescription use of CBD oil would allow for legal use of cannabidiol oil for children or adults who suffer from illnesses that CBD could help with. The new version of the bill would remove the requirement that CBD using patients in Idaho register with the state board of pharmacy.
“People were very concerned about having a database with their information in the event that somebody else got a hold of it, so that was kind of a fear,” said Rep. Moon, R-Stanley. “And they thought that truly the relationship between the doctor and a patient is the most important thing.”
Both bills must pass public hearings before being considered by the full House.
– Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.