People under the age of 21 would be protected by Good Samaritan laws when calling for medical assistance for friends who are under the influence of alcohol under House Bill 392 introduced Wednesday.
Currently, students living on The Ohio State University campus, enjoy the protection against prosecution that this law would extend statewide.
The bill, introduced by state Rep. Michael Stinziano, D-Columbus, would expand the Good Samaritan policy to anyone calling for help for an intoxicated friend. The bill’s joint sponsor is state Rep. Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville.
“By expanding this Good Samaritan policy, young people will be encouraged to protect their peers in times of need for critical medical care,” Stinziano said.
This bill would increase awareness for the need to call for medical assistance as well as encourage all young people to be aware of the well being of those around them during situations in which alcohol is involved, Stinziano said.
“This bill will save lives,” Stinziano said.
Right now, 19 states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington, have state laws that provide limited criminal immunity to individuals who seek emergency medical assistance for someone experiencing a drug or alcohol-related overdose.
Of those, 11 states include provisions that provide limited criminal immunity for individuals under the age of 21 seeking emergency medical assistance for an alcohol-related overdose.
The bill would prohibit prosecution for an underage alcohol possession or consumption violation if law enforcement personnel became aware of the violation solely due to medical assistance being sought, and if the person seeking assistance acted in good faith and used their own name while making the call.
HB 392 will be assigned to a standing House committee for further study.