WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), who has advocated for the re-enactment of Rhode Island’s Good Samaritan Law, issued the following statement:

“Addiction to heroin and other opiates represents the largest public health crisis we’ve seen in decades. Overdose deaths have more than doubled since 1999, devastating families of all different backgrounds in cities and towns across our country. And according to one recent study, Rhode Island has the seventh-highest rate of overdose deaths in the country.”

“The Good Samaritan Law is a critical tool for reversing this epidemic in our state and encouraging anyone who witnesses an overdose to call 9-1-1 and help save a life. It treats an overdose as what it is — a medical emergency rather than a crime scene. I applaud the members of the General Assembly for passing this important legislation and Governor Raimondo for signing it into law today in order to save the lives of Rhode Islanders who are caught in the cycle of addiction.”

“As we move forward, it’s important that we continue to develop innovative strategies to reduce overdose deaths and get help for those who are struggling with addiction today. This starts with expanding access to the life-saving antidote Naloxone, not just for first responders but for addicts as well. In a situation where every second counts, Naloxone acts quickly to block the effects of opioids and quickly restore breathing. It’s essential that we expand access and training on how to administer Naloxone for those who need it.”