If you go to the hospital for an alcohol overdose will you be charged with M.I.P.? What if you are under 21 and drunk and you call 911 for a friend who is overdosing? Will a fraternity or sorority chapter get in trouble if 911 is called for an intoxicated minor who needs medical attention? These are some of the questions that medical amnesty laws seek to address.
Medical Immunity laws vary from state to state, but a new Washington law, RCW 66.44.270(6), prohibits the prosecution of a minor who seeks medical attention for alcohol poisoning. More importantly, RCW 66.44.270(6) also prohibits the prosecution of a minor who seeks medical attention for another minor who is experiencing alcohol poisoning. What this means is that if your friend has overdosed on alcohol, you will not get him or her in trouble if you call an ambulance, or take him or her to the hospital. This also means that you will not get in trouble if it becomes clear that you were also drinking while underage. This law does not grant immunity to the person who furnished the alcohol to the minor.
In addition to the immunity from criminal prosecution, WSU also has guidelines that protect students from being disciplined by the university. The WSU Good Samaritan Guidelines provides that when a student voluntarily summons professional assistance from police, medical professionals, university staff members or resident advisors for alcohol intoxication or a drug overdose, the Office of Student Standards and Accountability will refrain from imposing formal discipline for alcohol or drug use and possession under the Standards of Conduct for Students, on either the reporting student or the intoxicated individual. Although the school will not discipline such individuals, WSU does reserve the right to make such students take a class or seek counseling.
It should be noted that the policy does not provide immunity to entire Greek chapters, and doesn’t provide immunity for hazing, or other related offenses. Under Washington State University policy, a student can actually be disciplined for not seeking assistance for a student who is suffering from alcohol poisoning. Each year, approximately 1,300 to 1,400 university students die from alcohol-related injuries, including alcohol poisoning and car accidents, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.