After reading that title up there, I’m sure you have a few questions for me, such as “What is Medical Amnesty?”, “Why is it a good thing?”, “How does it protect me and my friends from death?” and the rather astute question “I thought I was invincible, why would I want protection from legal action if I, or one of my friends, has to go to the hospital because we drank too much?” which surprisingly answers the first three questions.
Let me backtrack and tell you two stories.
The first one involves my friend who was visiting Michigan State one weekend and was given a minor in possession (MIP) charge for being underage and having an open beer in her hand. She wasn’t even that drunk, but cops in East Lansing are really strict about alcohol laws. It really sucks for her, but she shouldn’t have been running around topless in Dublin Square with an open beer in her hand when she was 19. She was stupid, so she got in trouble. Medical amnesty didn’t apply in that situations, because hospitals don’t deal that stuff, cops do.
The second story involves me on Halloween my freshmen year. I was invited to a fraternity party, and me and my date went as a cop and a prostitute, and I must say, the fake mustache that she bought suited her pretty well. I proceeded to drink in the only way that a man can when he is wearing make-up, a tube-top, and shorts that are both tighter and more revealing that Chubbies. Needless to say, I had a bit too much… and by a bit too much, I mean that I had waaaaaaay to fucking much, even though I am what many people would consider fucking gigantic (6’7’’, 270lbs). It took three of the brothers at the fraternity to get me back to my dorm that night, and I am damn appreciative that they both got me home safe, and alerted my RA and RD of my condition. They politely bugged out after they did that, and my RD, after asking me how much I had drank that night, to which I replied semi-consciously in between dry-heaves “A fakknig SHITTON.” He decided to get an ambulance to take me to the hospital.
I woke up in a hospital bed not remembering the entire evening, looking like Woody Harrelson from Anger Management, and finding myself in the thick of what would become a week long hangover due in part to all the alcohol that had been in my blood, the contents of my stomach being pumped, and having activated charcoal pumped into my guts. The nurse told me I had a BAC of .37 when I was rolled into the hospital, and that had I not been hospitalized, it most likely would have been a doctor or a police officer calling my mom the next morning to tell them that I was dead. Shit’s scary to think about.
Luckily, the state of Michigan has medical amnesty laws, so I wound up not getting an MIP or other charges, and the men from the fraternity had no legal action taken against them because they helped get me to someone who helped save my life. I did receive disciplinary action from the school, but that was a ridiculously small price to pay for a mistake I made considering the fact that the other option was for me to be dead.
The line of thinking behind medical amnesty laws goes like this:
Teenagers don’t always make the right decisions. Sometimes those teens endanger themselves by consuming a dangerous amount of alcohol, but teens are afraid of getting in trouble with the law. Therefore, teens will often not seek professional help when someone has consumed too much alcohol for fear of getting in trouble with their parents or law enforcement. If States pass legislation allowing teens to report when they have made potentially fatal mistakes involving alcohol, then more teens will be inclined to report potential cases of alcohol poisoning and less teens will die. Pretty sound reasoning to me.
As of right now, there are 17 states (and D.C) that have medical amnesty laws, but the Non-profit organization “The Medical Amnesty Initiative” is trying to push for more states to adopt medical amnesty legislation. Unfortunately, their Facebook page currently only has 394 likes, and many people don’t know what medical amnesty legislation is, even in states where medical amnesty is part of law.
Now, this being a website that caters to the demographic that these types of legislation are directly made to assist, I feel that we should all hop on board the medical amnesty train, and support the medical amnesty movement. Too often the story comes across the wire that a chapter was shut down and had it’s charter revoked because another kid died as a result of alcohol poisoning. We, as greeks, take the majority of the flak for it, because one way or another we were probably involved. These types of laws allow us to make the right decisions that can keep people from dying.
So my request to you, the reader, is to read up on medical amnesty laws, like the Facebook page, and help educate yourself and other people on the benefits that medical amnesty legislation provides for your state, or could provide for your state.