Written by VCU SSDP co-President Rose Bono
Our SSDP chapter has been working on getting a medical amnesty (Good Samaritan) policy passed for several years now. We started locally, asking Virginia Commonwealth University to adopt this sensible policy. Unfortunately, we were told that because our school is under the city’s jurisdiction and the city is under the state’s jurisdiction, VCU couldn’t pass any sort of effective policy. So we took our mission higher, to the Virginia state legislature.
At first, we got a lot of “that’s a good idea, but I can’t sponsor that at this time” kinds of responses. We had all the facts, the studies, the drafted language and the passion, but we couldn’t seem to get the proposed bill off the ground. This past fall, however, I moved into a new voting district within the capital city of Richmond, VA. I emailed my new representatives to introduce myself and tell them about the issues I cared about, and a few weeks later, I got a call asking to set up a meeting to discuss these issues! My delegate, Betsy Carr, cared enough about her constituents and fellow Virginians to sponsor this legislation, HB 557, Safe Reporting of Overdoses.
Now, we are working to get this bill out of committee and ensure its passage into law. The sponsorship of this bill represents years of hard work by countless SSDP members and drug policy activists. I am so grateful for my wonderful chapter and for my sensible delegate – together, we are going to save lives.
Take action on this bill: http://ssdp.org/action/va-hb-577-safe-reporting-of-overdoses/
Link to the bill: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+HB557+pdf