Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill that would give people immunity from small drug possession charges while seeking medical assistance for overdoses.

The bill was approved by a voice vote with bipartisan support. It says that people can’t be penalized for seeking medical assistance for an overdose if they possess small amounts of drugs or are in violation of probation, parole or a restraining order.

Supporters of the bill say it will save lives and help solve the growing problem of heroin overdoses in the state, though it would apply to all drugs and alcohol.

Related story: Springfield Had 900 Percent Increase in Heroin Seizures

Few opponents raised concerns over whether the bill would actually solve the problem. They said it could help end addiction if people got charged and went to drug court for treatment.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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