OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6554 (as amended by House "A" and "B")*

AN ACT CONCERNING EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FOR PERSONS EXPERIENCING A DRUG OVERDOSE.

SUMMARY:

This bill prohibits prosecuting a person for possessing drugs or drug paraphernalia based solely on discovery of evidence arising from efforts to seek medical assistance for a drug overdose. It applies to incidents involving someone who is reasonably believed to be suffering a drug overdose by ingesting, inhaling, or injecting an intoxicating liquor or any drug or substance.

Specifically, it prohibits prosecuting someone who seeks or receives medical assistance in good faith under the following scenarios:

1. when the person assistance is doing so based on a reasonable belief that someone else needs medical attention,

2. when a person seeks medical attention for himself or herself based on a reasonable belief that he or she is experiencing an overdose, or

3. when he or she is the subject of another person's reasonable belief that medical attention is needed.

“Good faith” does not include seeking medical assistance while law enforcement officers are executing an arrest or search warrant or conducting a lawful search.

The bill also requires the commissioner of consumer protection to designate mephedrone and MDPV, or any other name by which they are referred, as controlled substances in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act's scheduling regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2011, except that the provision making the two drugs schedule I controlled substances is effective on July 1, 2011.

*House Amendment “A” adds the (1) requirement that the reporter's belief must be reasonable and (2) actions that can give rise to a drug overdose claim.

*House Amendment “B” adds the two drugs to schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

POSSESSION PENALTIES

Drugs

Penalties for drug possession vary considerably depending on the type of drug and quantity involved. They range from (1) imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $ 1,000, or both to (2) imprisonment for up to 25 years, a fine of up to $ 250,000, or both.

Drug Paraphernalia

Penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia vary depending on whether the paraphernalia is for personal use or sale. It ranges from imprisonment for up to three months, a fine of up to $ 500, or both, to imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $ 2,000, or both.

BACKGROUND

Schedule I Controlled Substances

Schedule I drugs are those that have been determined to (1) have a high potential for abuse, (2) have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and (3) not be safe for use under medical supervision.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

45

Nay

0

(04/14/2011)