Underage drinkers seeking medical attention for themselves or friends suffering from alcohol poisoning could receive medical amnesty under Oregon law thanks to a bill sponsored by Oregon Rep. Margaret Doherty, the Oregonian reports.

According to the Oregonian, Doherty’s inspiration for the law came from the story of a fraternity hazing incident in 2008, where an 18 year old freshman at a University of California school died of alcohol poisoning because his fraternity brothers were afraid of the consequences of driving him to the hospital. It’s an all-too-common fear according to a research study at Cornell University, where 19 percent of undergraduates said they would think about seeking medical attention for a friend with suspected alcohol poisoning, but only 4 percent actually called emergency services.

Dougherty’s law would apply amnesty from a “minor in possession of alcohol” charge to both the individual in medical danger and the caller; however, it would not extend to other crimes such as driving under the influence or possessing other controlled substances.

The bill, called D-Tigard, is set to be considered next month in the Oregonian Legislature.


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