HARRISBURG — The Senate Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to help save lives in the case of drug overdoses.

Senate Bill 1164 establishes “good Samaritan” immunity from prosecution for certain drug crimes to those who call for emergency help when a friend or companion overdoses on drugs.

The legislation includes provisions that allow police and firefighters to be trained to carry naloxone, an anti-overdose drug also known as Narcan, and it expands access to naloxone for people at risk of overdosing.

The drug reverses the effects of heroin and other opioids.

The bill unanimously passed the House last week and now goes to Gov. Tom Corbett, who is expected to sign it into law.

“It was a bill I was asking for,” Corbett said. “I think it’s going to be very helpful.”

Passage of the legislation was a recommendation made in a recent report on Pennsylvania’s heroin epidemic.

The report by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, released Tuesday at the state Capitol, said more Pennsylvanians between the ages of 20 and 44 are dying from drug overdoses than car crashes.

Sentinel reporter Joshua Vaughn contributed to this report.

Earlier on cumberlink.com

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A bill that would provide immunity from criminal prosecution for "good Samaritans" who assist victims of drug overdoses is on its way to Gov. Tom Corbett's desk.

The Senate approved the measure unanimously Wednesday, a week after it passed the House without a single "no" vote.

Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to sign the legislation, which was spurred in part by a rash of heroin-related overdoses.

The bill is designed to save lives by encouraging people who are with someone experiencing an overdose to seek medical help without fear of legal repercussions for certain crimes.

The bill also would make the federally approved drug Naloxone more widely available in Pennsylvania to first responders, as well as relatives and friends of people with drug addictions. The drug reverses the effects of heroin and other opioids.

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