Reader's view: Medical amnesty would help underage drinkers
I am writing regarding the issue of medical attention for underage drinkers. Currently in the Minnesota Legislature two bills have been introduced that would implement medical amnesty across the state. In order for these bills to pass both the Ho...
I am writing regarding the issue of medical attention for underage drinkers. Currently in the Minnesota Legislature two bills have been introduced that would implement medical amnesty across the state. In order for these bills to pass both the House and the Senate, legislators need to be reminded of the importance of breaking down barriers when it comes to the medical attention some underage drinkers may need.
Currently in Minnesota, more than 37 percent of 20-year-olds participate in high-risk drinking, according to a 2010 study by Boynton Health Services. With medical amnesty across the state, a person could call the authorities for medical attention for himself or for a friend without fear of arrest for underage drinking.
Many other states, cities, and universities across the country have instituted similar policies, including Cornell University. Cornell has expansive medical amnesty protections for its students and also has conducted conclusive studies concerning underage alcohol consumption. In a 2006 study, it found the implementation of medical amnesty policies increased the number of emergency calls received with no increase in the amount of high-risk drinking.
A 2011 study conducted by Boynton Health Services at the University of Minnesota found that over 14 percent of Minnesota college students would not call 9-1-1 if someone was unable to be woken up due to alcohol or drug use.
Medical amnesty would provide a responsible avenue for underage drinkers to seek medical attention if they or a friend were to need it. Please contact legislators and tell them medical amnesty is a common-sense solution to a very preventable problem. Tell them to pass medical amnesty for Minnesota.