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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

NC Families, Advocates Demand Expansion of Good Samaritan Laws

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Monday, July 10, 2023   

As North Carolina faces an increasing number of overdose-related deaths, there are new calls urging the state to update and expand its Good Samaritan law.

More than 4,000 fatal overdoses were reported last year in North Carolina and the latest numbers show almost 400 deaths, in May alone, this year.

So, Randy Abbott - North Carolina outreach director with the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse - said he is pushing for improved legislation along with other advocates and parents.

He cited the loss of his daughter in 2015 as one heartbreaking example of the need.

"The group she was with at a small party panicked and they did not call 911 immediately," said Abbott. "We later found out that, you know, from the time they dialed 911 to the time someone was on scene was just a matter of less than two or three minutes."

Some proposed changes to strengthen North Carolina's Good Samaritan law include expanding immunity for drug possession broadly - without confusing carve-outs for specific substances or amounts.

The law could also provide protection from arrest, and ensure that those calling for help in good faith won't face so-called "Death by Distribution" charges.

But Senate Bill 458 didn't make the crossover to the House in the latest legislative session. Abbott emphasized the need for continued advocacy for broader protection.

"People cannot be confused, right?" said Abbott. "They need to know, ' Hey, if I call 911 and I've got fentanyl in my possession or I've got cocaine or I've got meth or I've got paraphernalia or weed.' It doesn't matter - you're going to be protected if you're saving someone's life."

Advocates also want an expanded law to encompass students at college who contact campus security for an individual who may be suffering an overdose, to offer protection to anyone providing aid during drug- or alcohol-related emergencies.




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