(a) West Virginia currently has the highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United
States. Since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths in West Virginia has increased by
over six hundred percent. Similarly, the age-adjusted death rate from alcohol-related overdoses has significantly
increased in West Virginia, and throughout the United States, in the past ten years.
(b) The Legislature finds it is in the public interest to encourage citizens to intervene
in drug and alcohol overdose situations by seeking potentially life-saving emergency
medical assistance for others without fear of being subject to certain criminal penalties.
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