COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A new Ohio law offers immunity from prosecution to people trying to get help for someone overdosing on drugs or overdose victims themselves who seek assistance.

The law taking effect Tuesday covers people calling 911, contacting a police officer or taking an overdose victim to a medical facility for up to two times. They would again be subject to prosecution on the third call. It is meant to ease the fears of those who are engaged in illegal activity at the time of an overdose, specifically low-level drug crimes.

The legislation is one of several efforts by Ohio to stem the tide of the addictions epidemic, which killed a record 3,050 people in Ohio last year, an average of eight per day. In Cuyahoga County, the average has been 11 people per day dead from a fatal overdose of heroin, fentanyl or carfentanil since February.

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The epidemic has worsened as abuse of prescription painkillers led to increased heroin use. The availability of even more deadly drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil have also led to increased numbers of overdoses.

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