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Make the Call - 911 - Overdose Immunity


Each year the New Hampshire Legislature issues hundreds of new laws. In 2015 there were 276 new laws passed. Some of the laws passed were voluminous and fund the operation of our state government. Some were merely technical corrections to existing law. But at least one of these laws may actually save lives. HB 270 is a new law that provides immunity from arrest, prosecution or conviction to any person who requests medical assistance for another person experiencing a drug overdose. In 2015 NH experienced more than 400 overdose deaths.

Consider the case of 25 year-old Amanda Burgess who according to press reports is a “self-described heroin addict.” Last summer Ms. Burgess allegedly provided forty dollars’ worth of heroin to 27 year-old Joseph Cahill. They apparently stayed together for some period of time and Cahill overdosed in front of Burgess. Understandably afraid, Burgess frantically reached out to her mother in text messages:

"Plz pick up, I need u idk wut Ta do I killed sum one."


"I just watch sum one die rite in front of me.”

Amanda Burgess’s fears and cries out to her mother are only the beginning of a tragedy. A tragedy for the Cahill family who lost their son and brother and a tragedy for the Burgess family who may very well lose their daughter, a young woman allegedly addicted to heroin herself. Two families destroyed.

Today, under HB 270, if Amanda Burgess called for medical assistance she could rest assured that she would not be arrested, prosecuted or convicted. Today she would have immunity if she made that call.

No one should die because of fear of prosecution. Parents tell your children, children tell your parents – make that call – 911!