New bill on possible drug overdose - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New bill on possible drug overdose

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KENNEWICK, Wash--  Underage drinking and drug use continues to be a problem for students.

"The different drug trends come and go, but underage drinking is always something that stays," says Kelly Bolson, a prevention intervention specialist at Kamiakin High.  "I think when kids are partying and somebody's had too much and they don't know what to do, I think that fear and self preservation always comes into play.  'If I call the cops am I going to get busted?'"

That's one of the reasons lawmakers in Olympia are taking action.   The state will soon keep anyone calling for help over a drug overdose from prosecution for possession.  It would also prevent prosecution if evidence is gained only because medical help was called.

The law still has its barriers, but the bottom line--if you or someone you know needs help because of an overdose--don't hesitate to call 9-1-1.  A lesson that could be the difference between life and death.

"They don't really see drinking and doing drugs as a consequence," one student says.  "They don't see the consequences behind it--it's just.  But when something bad goes wrong, I can see a lot of kids my age just like, ya know, I can get in trouble."

"There are consequences when people use illegal drugs or abuse alcohol," explains Sergeant Ken Lattin with the Kennewick Police Department.  "And sometimes those consequences are people dying.  So if we can prevent that by encouraging people to call, then we certainly want to encourage that."

The latest numbers from the Center of Health Statistics show 794 unintentional drug-related deaths in the state.  

Any manufacturer or supplier can still face legal penalties.  The Franklin County prosecutors office says they first opposed the bill but later supported it with the understanding homicide cases are exempt.

The law takes effect this summer.