Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Medical amnesty aids student health, safety

At St. Ambrose University in Davenport, when students are intoxicated from alcohol or drugs, medical safety comes before discipline.
If a student under the age of 21 is intoxicated from alcohol and believes his or her friend needs medical assistance for alcohol or drug consumption, these students are protected from receiving disciplinary action.
The same goes for if an individual believes he or she needs medical assistance for alcohol or drug consumption.
Instead of receiving a ticket for consumption of drugs or alcohol underage, students often receive counseling or an educational seminar.
This protection is called Medical Amnesty, also known as the Good Samaritan Law, and is a state-wide law meant to protect people in critical condition as a result of alcohol or other drugs.
There are 17 states in the U.S. and Washington D.C. that have medical amnesty law, although Iowa and Illinois are not included. Legislation to pass a Medical Amnesty law in Illinois is pending.
However, many colleges and universities, like St. Ambrose, have Medical Amnesty laws in place regardless of whether it is enforced by the state. Augustana does not have any type of Medical Amnesty protection.
Without this kind of medical protection, students can become wary of seeking necessary medical attention for themselves or their friends.
According to the Medical Amnesty Initiative website, 68 percent of teens report fear of getting in trouble with law enforcement when consuming alcohol.
A Cornell University study found that while 19 percent of college students reported wanting to seek medical attention for an intoxicated person, only 4 percent actually made the call.
Augustana is enforcing this fear into students by not providing Medial Amnesty protection. Alcohol and drug overdoses can be prevented, not to mention physical and sexual assault, if students are not afraid to call for help.
This medical protection is a way to address the issues of physical and sexual assaults on campus because students would be more willing to report an assault.
Instead of writing tickets for students seeking medical attention, the college should instead offer protection to these students and provide education through counseling or interventions.
Students should be knowledgeable on the dangers of alcohol and drug consumption, but there will always be partying on and off campus where these types of activities take place.
The college works closely with the Rock Island Police Department, and instead of handing out endless drinking tickets, RIPD can work with the college to promote medical assistance when necessary.
Alcohol and drug consumption at Augustana may not be preventable, but a fear for medical safety is unacceptable.

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Medical amnesty aids student health, safety