Rapert bill would offer immunity from prosecution to people seeking medical care for drug overdose | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rapert bill would offer immunity from prosecution to people seeking medical care for drug overdose

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 4:39 PM

RAPERT: Bill aims to save lives via more sensible drug policy.
  • RAPERT: Bill aims to save lives via more sensible drug policy.
How about we highlight a good, thoughtful bill among all the legislative shenanigans? And from Sen. Jason Rapert no less. 

The "Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act," SB 543, so named for a Faulkner County constituent of Rapert's who died of a drug overdose in Faulkner County, would give immunity from prosecution for drug possession to someone seeking medical assistance due to a drug overdose. This would apply to someone seeking medical assistance for him or herself, or another person seeking medical assistance on his or her behalf. Ashley-Pauley's father gave emotional testimony in a House committee on Wednesday on the importance of giving people dealing with a potential drug overuse an avenue to seek medical treatment without a fear of prosecution that may keep them in the shadows, a potentially fatal choice. A similar law in North Carolina has saved an estimated twenty lives. 

The bill passed the House 84-0 yesterday and it will head back to a Senate committee after being amended in the House. 

First off: this is a good idea. Supposedly "tough on drugs" policy that leads to people avoiding medical assistance for fear of prosecution is counterproductive, to say the least.

It is worth pointing out that this is precisely why "personhood" bills aiming to criminalize mothers who are battling drug addiction is an atrocious idea. It only serves to make mothers less likely to seek medical care, less likely to seek treatment or rehabilitation for their addiction, and less likely to be honest with medical providers. Of course, Rapert might see that one differently. 

Meanwhile, the legislature simultaneously appears set to push forward a program to drug test people who receive benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, or TANF. This has been tried in other states and it's both costly and an ineffective means to get folks into substance abuse programs. Instead it adds bureaucratic red tape, administrative burden, and shaming stigma on poor people — and threatens vulnerable kids if parents lose their benefits. In short, it's the same old-fashioned, mindless grandstanding on drugs which has led to so much counterproductive and thoughtless policy in this country for decades.

Rapert's SB 543 is the opposite: a common-sense, humane approach focused on real-world results instead of posturing. On this one: Good for him, and good for the legislature.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • Abuse again at Arkansas juvenile lockup

    A guard was fired after choking a child at the Alexander Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center. It’s the latest in a long history of mistreatment at the facility.
    • May 26, 2017
  • Health care policy FAQ

    What proposed state and federal changes mean for the future of health care policy in Arkansas.
    • May 25, 2017
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
    • May 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • Two plead in fraud of sheriff's office

    A former employee of the Pulaski County sheriff and a North Little Rock woman who sold goods to the sheriff's office have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to steal from the sheriff's office, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016

Most Shared

  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.
  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Viewed

  • Confederate memories of a Southern boy

    Confederate memories. How a Son of the South went wrong — or right, depending on your point of view.
  • Police identify three dead in Birchwood

    Police have now released some details about the apparent slaying Sunday of two children and suicide of the man who killed them on Birchwood Drive in West Little Rock. Court recordx indicate the suspect had a history of domestic violence.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation