Proposed Ohio Law Would Protect Juveniles Who Get Help For Intoxicated Friends

UPDATED: Thursday December 19, 2013 8:59 AM

A bill now before Ohio lawmakers would protect young people who seek medical care for intoxicated friends.

It's called House Bill 392, and it would protect people under the age of 21 by "Good Samaritan" laws.

From block parties, to football tailgates and street fests - College students don't have to look far to find a party and alcohol is often included.

For many, it's the first time they'll experiment with drinking -- away from home -- and the protection of their parents.

"They might have just started drinking and don't know how to handle their alcohol or don't know how much they can drink," said OSU student Nakeya Walker.

Those students have to rely on their friends, should it prove a dangerous combination.

"I mean it's happened a lot of times, and you know, they'll be passed out and they start vomiting a lot," OSU student Patrick Bolger said.

Those young people can face criminal prosecution for underage alcohol possession or consumption, if law enforcement becomes aware.

House Bill 392 would protect them against prosecution.

"There's obviously a lot of parties -- it's college -- so there's underage drinking that goes on. So, yeah, if someone does drink more and they're too scared -- absolutely," Bolger said in favor of the bill.

Students living on the Ohio State University campus already enjoy the protection against prosecution, that this law would extend statewide.

"I would rather have kids know that they can call in without fear of getting in trouble, and save -- potentially save -- someone's life, especially like drunk driving," Walker said.

A sobering reality, that could save lives.

State Representative Michael Stinziano introduced the bill.

He told10TV it would not extend to a drug-related overdose, only alcohol.

Nineteen states currently have laws providing limited criminal immunity to people who seek medical assistance for someone needing help for an alcohol-related overdose.

The Ohio bill is now in committee.

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