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Maine's expanded good Samaritan law goes into effect

Starting Monday, Maine's expanded good Samaritan Law goes into effect. It protects people who call for medical help at the scene of an overdose from arrest and prosecution for nonviolent and drug-related crimes.

Courtney Allen of the Maine Recovery Advocacy Project says a previous version from 2019 didn't go far enough, which discouraged many people from calling 911 when witnessing an overdose, and that cost lives.

"This law is actually going to be the strongest good Samaritan law in the entire nation," says Allen. "It really truly is a premier piece of legislation that says the lives of people who use drugs are more important than minor criminal offenses."

Drug overdose deaths in Maine are rising. Last year the state reported more than 600. Data from the first five months of this year indicate deaths are continuing to increase.