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Alcohol amnesty under for Indiana’s youth – Stay and don't Pay

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The new law, approved by legislators in March, that Gov. Mitch Daniel signed took effect July 1, 2012. It will shield people from arrest on public intoxication or underage drinking charges if they seek help for someone facing an alcohol related emergency.

In the past, for the most part at colleges and fraternities, when an underage person was found passed out, there was a fear of calling for help because all of the other underage drinkers were fearful that they would be arrested as well. Last year, 66 percent of Indiana college students reported using alcohol in the past month. 57 percent weren't 21.

The CDC Reports the following about drinking levels among youth:

The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students, during the past 30 days:

•39% drank some amount of alcohol.
•22% binge drank.
•8% drove after drinking alcohol.
•24% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

College Stats on drinking and death:

Every year, an estimated 1,825 students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from injuries sustained by excessive alcohol consumption. This works out as nearly one death for every two colleges in America. Incredibly, another 599,000 are unintentionally injured due to the effects of alcohol. Out of 4,140 colleges in the U.S., both public and private, this factors out to 145 injuries for every single campus.

Freshmen account for more than one-third of college student deaths:

When it comes to alcohol-related deaths, the first year of college is easily the most dangerous. A USA Today study done in 2006 found that although freshman account for only about 24% of the total population of college students, they make up much more than their share of the number of deaths. For example, they accounted for 40% of undergraduate suicides, 47% of undergrad deaths on campus, and half of deaths from falls out of windows and off rooftops. Of these deaths, one out of five was found to have been drinking.

This is the exact wording of the law:

Immunity for certain alcohol offenses. Prohibits a law enforcement officer from taking a person into custody for a crime of public intoxication or minor possession, consumption, or transportation of an alcoholic beverage if the officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circumstances, reasonably believes that: (1) the officer has contact with the person because the person requested emergency medical assistance, or acted in concert with another person who requested emergency medical assistance, for an individual who reasonably appeared in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption; and (2) the person meets other requirements. Specifies that a person may not bring an action against a law enforcement officer based on the officer's compliance with or failure to comply with this prohibition. Provides that a person meeting these conditions is immune from criminal prosecution for public intoxication or minor possession, consumption, or transportation of an alcoholic beverage. (Associated Press)

A Colorado State University student died of alcohol poisoning with a BAC of 0.436:

On a Friday in 2004, Samantha Spady started drinking at 6 p.m. and consumed an estimated 40 cups of beer and shots of vodka. When she was found the next day, her body had a blood-alcohol level of 0.436, an astronomical figure that the coroner said was probably higher earlier in the evening of her death. The most sobering part of her story is that her friends had no indication she had been poisoned by alcohol and was dying; they had left her in a room “to sleep it off.”

Its supporters say similar disciplinary policies at some colleges have encouraged students to seek out assistance for others in time of emergency. This could prevent many unnecessary deaths. Indiana joined at least 11 other states with some version of a law giving limited legal immunity to underage drinkers calling for medical assistance.

Do not assume they are "sleeping it off " Educate your college age child - Please call, don't leave. Peace.

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All articles by Wendi Swindell are under copyright and cannot be reposted in part or completely without written permission by the author. For permission, email wnmtr@hotmail.com.

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