Tennessee bill would require health care providers to report drug overdoses to police

Tennessee bill would require health care providers to report drug overdoses to police

The War on Drugs has been slammed as a failure by a combination of liberals, progressives and right-wing libertarians, many of whom have argued that drugs need to be regulated as a health matter rather than as a criminal matter. But in Tennessee, a bill sponsored by State Sen. Joey Hensley, a Republican, would require health care providers to contact police as well as the District Attorney General's Office if they treat someone who suffers a drug overdose.

Tennessee Senate Bill 1891, which would go into effect on July 1 if it passes, has passed in the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee and the Tennessee Senate Calendar Committee —and it is expected to go to a full Tennessee Senate vote on April 25, according to WBIR-TV 10 (an NBC affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee).

Meanwhile, in the Tennessee House of Representatives, the House Criminal Justice Committee is expected to discuss a companion bill this Friday, April 15, WBIR reports. If a final version of the bill passes in both branches of the Tennessee General Assembly, it would go to the desk of Republican Gov. Bill Lee — who would have the option of either singing it into law or vetoing it.

According to WBIR, “Health care workers and other workers would need to provide the name, residence and employer of the person if they learn that information, as well as the person's location when the report is made and the place the drug overdose happened. They will also need to describe the character and extent of the injuries. State law already requires them to submit reports in cases of poison or suffocation, and the law would require drug overdoses to be handled the same way those cases already are. It would only require people to report overdoses if the patient has more substances in their systems than what is legally allowed by state and federal law.”

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