When an individual becomes unconscious from alcohol poisoning, the longer the time before they receive medical help, the more likely their are to die. The Department of Public Health stated that from 2008-2012, their most recent statistics, nine people under the age of 21 died from alcohol overdose. Had someone called for medical assistance, death may have been avoided.
While the law would pardon underage people who call 911, the law would give police discretion in determining if amnesty is appropriate following police and medical personnel responding. The law would apply only to the person in need of medical assistance and the individuals who called on their behalf.
Medical amnesty bills, similar to the one presented in Illinois, have been enacted in twenty-one states and the District of Columbia and dozens more have contemplated legislation.
Cornell University instituted a similar amnesty policy in 2002 and a 2006 study reported that after two years, calls for alcohol related medical help rose more than twenty-two percent.
The law seeks to remove the barrier of fear that a person will be in trouble following underage overdrinking, and with proper education the bill could significantly reduce alcohol related deaths. As stated by Representative Scott Drury, who is sponsoring the bill, there is “a difference between being soft on crime and being smart on policy.”