Campus / National / News / March 5, 2014

Student Senate to urge good samaritan policy

Student Senate may vote on a resolution Thursday in support of a Good Samaritan Policy — following a proposal presented by freshman Jonathan Tupper which would give amnesty to a person who is reporting another student overdosing on hard drugs, and the person experiencing the overdose, from conduct punishment.

Tupper made the proposal in February, presenting a model resolution and additional resources. The resolution has been modified by Senate leadership and submitted to Campus Safety and Campus Life officials for feedback.

Tupper noticed a positive response to the proposal. He thought of suggesting the resolution to Student Senate after researching U.S. drug policies for his political science class. He found a proposed resolution titled “Studentsfor Sensible Drug Policy,” which contained among its stipulations a “Good Samaritan Policy”: a policy in effect at 240 colleges and universities as well as in 14 states including Washington D.C.

Illinois’ Good Samaritan Policy, passed in 2012, provides limited immunity from prosecution in the form of a class four or class three felony for possession of controlled substances for people who seek medical assistance during an overdose.

The bill grants immunity for possession of less than three grams of substances containing heroin, cocaine, morphine or LSD; less than six grams of substances containing ketamine, pentazocine, methaqualone or phencyclidine; and less than 40 grams of a substance containing amphetamine, barbituric acid, peyote or narcotics.

Other states that provide limited immunity include New Mexico, New York, Washington and Connecticut. States that extend immunity for alcohol consumption and possession include New Jersey, Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

Several other states such as Utah, Maryland, New Mexico, Washington and Alaska are also considering extending immunity for underage alcohol possession. Other states such as Hawaii, Rhode Island, Michigan, Massachusetts, California and Florida are considering a Good Samaritan Law.

SSDP chapters have recently worked with schools such as College of William and Mary, Ithaca College, and Columbia University.

Tupper sited an incidence of an LSD overdose this January that gave him further inspiration for presenting the resolution, as well as preventing death by alcohol poisoning by enabling callers to report overdoses, noting its relevancy in college life.

“If this saves one life, this prevents one person’s family from losing a son, or girlfriend losing a boyfriend, boyfriend losing a girlfriend, it’s worth it that way,” Tupper said.

Yonatan Litwin

Tags:  good samaritan policy John Schlaf johnathan tupper senate students for sensible drug policy

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