INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 13, 2013, 08:04 PM

A Minnesota bill could protect underage drinkers from prosecution in a medical emergency

Minnesota (WDAY TV) -- A Minnesota bill that passed through two legislative committees would protect underage drinkers from prosecution in a medical emergency.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Minnesota (WDAY TV) -- A Minnesota bill that passed through two legislative committees would protect underage drinkers from prosecution in a medical emergency.

The so-called "medical amnesty" bill aims to remove barriers to highly-needed medical attention for things like alcohol poisoning.

Kylie Windecker is a 19-year-old Freshman at Concordia. She says while she doesn't personally drink alcohol, she knows not everyone is the same way.

Kylie: "It happens, realistically."

That's why she says a bill moving through the Minnesota legislature is a good idea. It waives legal punishment if a minor who has been drinking needs to call for emergency medical service.

Kylie: "The safest option and the safest way to handle that would be to make sure that there's nothing that would get in the way of saving someone's life."

A Minor in Consumption is a misdemeanor in Minnesota, and the consequences could be up to 90 days in jail or a 1000-dollar fine. For high school and college students, it could also cost a scholarship or extracurricular participation. So, there is a lot to consider, and any hesitation could be critical.

Gina: "Time is of the essence. There are a lot of factors that are involved with the absorption of alcohol, but for many people, drinking way too much too fast can be a very critical and urgent situation."

Several other states, including North Dakota, have these so-called 'medical amnesty' laws. But critics say that it could encourage underage binge drinking.

However, there might still be other consequences for underage drinkers.

Josh Mork: "One thing that I might be worried about if I was in that situation, was would I get in trouble with parents or friends or other things. Even if it's not legal trouble, you could get into trouble at home."

Alcohol poisoning can shut down critical organs. If you suspect someone has had too much to drink and they are passed out or asleep, watch for physical signs that seem abnormal.

Tags: