Late last week, the governor of Indiana signed off on the Lifeline Law, which potentially protects people from being arrested for various drinking charges — like public intoxication or underage drinking — if they call 911 for emergency help after consuming too much alcohol.
The bill, which takes effect on July 1, was inspired by a female University of Indiana student who vanished last summer after a night spent out drinking; it primarily targets college students and young people in the Hoosier state. According to the UDETC, underage drinkers made up 9% of alcohol treatment admissions in 2009, and The Star Press reported that over the past seven years, 21 underage drinkers died from alcohol poisoning. Needless to say, underage drinking is a huge problem in Indiana, and the Lifeline Law is setting out to create a hopeful solution.
Another goal of the new law is to also promote the support of friends, who will hopefully be more motivated to call 911 if a friend has had too much to drink. The Indiana Lifeline Law website says that in order to receive immunity from charges, the person must provide their full name and any other relevant information requested by law enforcement officers, remain on the scene until law enforcement and emergency medical assistance arrives and cooperate with authorities on the scene. Hey, that’s not so bad…
It might seem a bit intimidating — and even unrealistic — to imagine someone who has been drinking a lot of alcohol stopping to call 911 on themselves and then deal with the police — especially a college student out partying with friends… the law will probably take a little bit of time to catch on. Ideally, it will help “groom” more responsible drinkers, and will be enough of a success to spread across the country. And in the end, if reaching out for medical help saves just one person from what could be instead something tragic, then every state should adopt the Lifeline law.
Do you think the Lifeline law will be effective?