New Colorado Law Aims To Help Avoid Overdose Deaths

May 20, 2016
Photo: Hickenlooper signs overdose bill (Staff)(Vic Vela/CPR News)
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bill aimed at reducing drug overdose deaths at Denver’s Harm Reduction Action Center on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

When friends are getting high and someone overdoses, it’s not automatic that paramedics are called. That’s out of fear of being arrested for carrying and consuming illegal drugs.

This measure shields those who report overdoses from arrest. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill at Denver’s Harm Reduction Action Center, where Vernon Lewis is an overdose prevention coordinator.

“They’re leaving people hanging, rather than save someone’s life," Lewis said.  "I think that’s a horrible thing to do.”

Hickenlooper said he hopes the law will change the sequence of events that often lead to drug-related deaths.