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Medical amnesty aimed to help hospitalized underage drinkers

Just about every Michigan resident under the age of 21 has been tempted by alcohol at some point in their lives, especially college students. Many of these underage individuals are familiar of the consequences of underage drinking but still choose to imbibe. A recent law will offer underage drinkers protection if they make the smart decision to seek medical attention for alcohol poisoning.

Until recently, many underage drinkers feared seeking medical attention in the event of alcohol poisoning because he or she would be issued a minor in possession upon arrival. This fear led to several fatalities nationwide. A new state law called medical amnesty recently passed and it insures that anyone under the age of 21 will not receive a MIP citation if they seek medical attention for themselves or a friend who has drank too much.

The failure to seek medical help could still result in criminal prosecution. For example, if an intoxicated underage individual refuses to seek medical help and is later picked up by the police, they may be liable for a MIP citation.

Groups of college students are aiming to spread awareness of medical amnesty campus wide through various activities and events. The end goal of these groups is not to encourage underage drinking, but ensure that students know about the new law and their rights under the law. Medical amnesty has also been included in an online alcohol consumption course for incoming freshman. A student's fear of consequences of an MIP charge should not prevent them from seeking help and will hopefully avoid some devastating results.

Most Michigan residents facing underage drinking charges are encouraged to know their legal rights. Any individual facing charges of MIP or similar offenses are welcome to seek the help of a legal attorney to insure their rights and future are considered.

Source: The Michigan Daily, "Event aims to educate on medical amnesty policy," Giacomo Bologna, March 10, 2013

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