Friday, January 20, 2017

Too Scared To Call

Today, I proposed the Lifeline Medical Amnesty for Persons Under Age 21, a bill which will give legal shelter to youth who contact 911 when an alcohol overdose occurs and a life is at risk. 35 other states have adopted similar measures. NBC Boston reporter Karen Hensel talked with me this afternoon about this important issue.

Underage drinking is a serious problem that impacts many families in our state. 35% of youth between the ages of 18 to 20 self-reported having consumed 5 or more drinks in a row within a 30 day period of a recent study. Sadly, emergency medical situations can quickly arise leading to dangerous decisions and serious harm.

The fear of seeking help should be replaced with the knowledge that a call to 911 will be answered by professionals trained in health emergency situations under the provisions of my bill. If a 911 caller, or other underage person trying to help, remains with the victim and cooperates with public safety professionals when help arrives they would not be prosecuted for possession of alcohol pursuant to the bill.

We should do everything we can to confront the issue of underage alcohol abuse and promote prevention efforts, and the bill I proposed today is only one tool to try to do just that.

You can watch Karen Hensel’s first news report on this problem below. Check her upcoming report to see our conversation about why I filed this legislation.