Greg interviews Robert Sprague, Ohio State Representative. He represents the 83rd District in the Ohio House of Representatives. Since Robert has been in office, he has been associated with the passing of 14 bills for opioid addiction legislation.
The Good Samaritan Law goes into effect on September 13, 2016. Greg asks Representative Sprague about the law and what exactly it entails. “The law is addressing the issue of addiction in the state of Ohio. 8 out of 10 people that use narcotics, prescription pain pills or heroin, use with somebody else. While 8 out of 10 people that overdose, die alone,” says Rep. Sprague. “Overdosing takes time. Whoever is there with that person when they are using, if they don’t call 911, they are running. They don’t want to get in trouble. The Good Samaritan Law provides safety for individuals, so they won’t be prosecuted for minor drug possession. So they can call 911 and save somebody else’s life.”
Rep. Sprague discusses the caveats or limitations of the bill. “We want to save people’s lives. We don’t want them to go on and overdose again and again and again. First of all, this is only for minor drug possession. Minor drug possession is essentially less than a gram of heroin,” says Rep. Sprague. “I think it’s important that people see that it’s for minor drug possession or paraphernalia, the most common thing they are arrested for. Drug dealers are smart; they can get around this. We wanted to make sure this was specifically targeted at people who are using, not those that have large quantities of it that are dealing in our neighborhoods.”
Greg asks Rep. Sprague about the time limit stipulation of the bill. “You have immunity for two times. This is a compromise that we had to make. We wanted to make sure that people weren’t using this as a get out of jail free card,” says Rep. Sprague. “The limits are to make sure that people are getting into treatment and that they weren’t doing this repeatedly and purposefully. It not only affects the one who is calling, but also the one who is overdosing.”
Read the full Good Samaritan Law Here.
Robert Sprague is currently (2016) serving his second term in the Ohio House of Representatives, a post to which he was appointed in 2011. Prior to his election to the Ohio House, Mr. Sprague served as City Auditor for the City of Findlay, OH, and assisted the city in dealing with the 2008-2009 recession. Mr. Sprague holds degrees from Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has sponsored or cosponsored numerous opioid-related bills in the Ohio House of Representatives. For a complete list of the bills and resolutions which Representative Sprague has sponsored or cosponsored, please see his page on the Ohio House of Representatives website.