ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into law a bill that would grant amnesty in some cases to those who seek medical help in the event of a drug overdose.

Deal signed the bill Thursday, and it takes immediate effect. Lawmakers had overwhelmingly passed the “Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law.”

Supporters of the law argue some people are too afraid to call for medical help for themselves or others because they fear prosecution on drug charges. The law would grant amnesty only on drug possession charges when amounts are small.

Supporters say the bill won’t help drug dealers, but could save lives.

Some 17 states have passed similar so-called “Good Samaritan laws.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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