PA 11-210—HB 6554

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FOR PERSONS EXPERIENCING AN OVERDOSE AND THE DESIGNATION OF CERTAIN SYNTHETIC STIMULANTS AS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

SUMMARY: This act generally 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. The act does not bar prosecution for possession with intent to sell or dispense.

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

1. when a person seeks assistance for someone else based on a reasonable belief that the person needs medical attention,

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

3. when another person reasonably believes that he or she needs medical attention.

“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 act also requires the commissioner of consumer protection to designate mephedrone and MDPV (commonly known as “bath salts” and marketed under various brand names), as controlled substances in schedule I of the state Controlled Substances Act's regulations. In doing so, it subjects these drugs, which were not regulated under prior law, to all of the laws governing controlled substances.

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

POSSESSION PENALTIES

Drugs

Penalties for drug possession vary considerably depending on the type of drug and quantity involved. They range from imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both to 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. They range 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) be unsafe for use under medical supervision.

OLR Tracking: SP: KM: VR: ro/ts