Illinois Senate Considering Good Samaritan 911 Law for Underage Drinkers

underage drinking, Good Samaritan 911, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyThe beginning of April marks the start of Alcohol Awareness Month, meant to be an initiative to increase education about the effects and potential dangers of alcohol abuse. While alcohol abuse can affect people of any age, recent research suggests that underage drinking, and specifically, underage binge drinking is on the rise throughout Illinois. Experts may point to a number of long-term dangers related to teen alcohol use, but for many, a single incident of overdrinking can be extremely serious or even fatal. To that end, the Illinois Senate is now considering legislation drafted to encourage young people to seek medical help for someone who has had too much to drink.

Similar to a law enacted in Illinois in 2012 regarding heroin and other drug use, and other laws around the country, the measure has been referred to as a Good Samaritan 911 law. The proposed law would pardon underage drinkers who call 911 to help another in danger from alcohol related issues. The 2012 Illinois legislation offers the same protection for drug-related situations but does not include alcohol or underage drinking amnesty.

Help vs. Fear

The measure, which was passed by the Illinois House last month, is designed to create a safer environment for young people to seek help in a dangerous situation rather than failing to act based on fear of prosecution. State Representative Scott Drury recounted a case in which a teenager needed medical help for drinking too much, and after some reluctance, another teen made the call. Both teens were eventually cited for underage drinking, Drury said, a situation that could lead to more people refusing to seek help.

Health-Related Dangers

The Illinois Department of Health reported nine alcohol-induced deaths of individuals under age 21 between 2008 and 2012. These numbers consider only alcohol poisoning or overdose cases and did take into account other fatalities in which alcohol was a factor, such as DUI-related deaths. Proponents of the Good Samaritan 911 law hopes to bring these types of tragedies to an end throughout the state and around the country. Acting quickly and without fear can literally be the difference between life and death for someone in danger from drinking too much.

Underage Drinking and DUI Defense

If your son or daughter has been charged with any alcohol-related offense, including possession or DUI, you need a lawyer with the skill and experience on which you can rely. Contact a qualified criminal defense attorney in Arlington Heights today for a consultation and find out how our team can help you and your child through this difficult situation.

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