SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois drug abusers who seek medical assistance following an overdose would receive legal immunity under a bill moving through the General Assembly.

Sen. Emil Jones III is one of the legislation’s sponsors. The Chicago Democrat says it will encourage drug abusers to enter rehabilitation and save lives.

The bill passed Thursday without opposition and now heads to the House.

Jones says many drug abusers die because they avoid medical help for fear of being arrested for drug possession.

The bill only offers immunity for limited possession of a controlled substance. Exceeding various amounts of a drug would qualify as drug trafficking and negate immunity.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.


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