The Latest: Chief: Charges meant to help overdose victims

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Posted: Mar 28, 2017 4:41 PM

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on the ACLU asking an Ohio city to stop charging drug overdose survivors criminally (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

The police chief of a small Ohio city that criminally charges drug users revived by emergency responders using an overdose antidote says the goal is to help addicts.

Washington Court House Police Chief Brian Hottinger says his hard-hit community is grasping at straws like other municipalities when it comes to battling the epidemic.

The ACLU's Ohio chapter on Tuesday said the practice is dangerous because it discourages people from calling for help when a loved one overdoses.

The group is calling on Washington Court House to stop charging people. The city is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Columbus.

Hottinger says the goal is not putting people in jail or hitting them with fines. He says the ACLU's request will be reviewed.

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11:55 a.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking an Ohio community to end the practice of charging drug users revived by emergency responders using an overdose antidote.

The ACLU's Ohio chapter says the practice is dangerous because it discourages people from calling for help when a loved one overdoses.

Police in Washington Court House began citing people in February with a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic if responders revive them with naloxone. The city is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Columbus.

The city says the strategy helps authorities track overdose victims and offer them help. People who call 911 won't be charged.

A message was left with the city attorney seeking comment on the ACLU letter.

The ACLU says 12 people have been charged so far.