College Students: Text/Call 911, Stay, and Cooperate; Save Lives

(UNDATED) – State officials recently launched the #KnowEnough ad campaign designed to inform Hoosier college students about Indiana’s existing Lifeline Law, which prohibits criminal prosecution for underage drinking and other related offenses when the student reports a medical emergency to the police, stays with the person in need and cooperates with authorities.

This fall digital campaign launched on August 19th ran through November 11th. This message has saved 54 lives by utilizing Indiana’s Lifeline Law.

By using social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook, the positive campaign encouraged incoming and returning college students throughout Indiana to Text/call 911, stay and cooperate when someone is in need of medical attention due to alcohol consumption.

Details of the digital/video campaign, including samples of the campaign’s artwork/messaging, will be shared at a Press Conference at 9 a.m. on Thursday, at the University of Indianapolis’ Schwitzer Student Center at 1400 Campus Drive in Indianapolis.

Indiana Youth Services Association’s Make Good Decisions program and Senator Jim Merritt, author of Indiana’s Lifeline Law, have partnered with Indiana Statewide 911 Board’s Text-to-911 services, Treasurer Kelly Mitchell (chair of the Statewide 911 Board) to increase public awareness about the ability to Text-to-911 in an emergency.

Sen. Merritt and Mitchell will be joined at the news conference by Chief David Selby, UIndy Police Department, Dani Merlo, the Student Body President at the University of Indianapolis and Emmis Communications.

Indiana’s Lifeline Law provides legal amnesty from prosecution for underage drinking, and many related drinking offenses, for a person who calls or texts 911, or for persons assisting and reporting a medical emergency, sexual assault or other crime. The purpose of the partnership is to encourage teens and young adults to contact 911 for help when they find themselves or a friend in an emergency, especially those situations that may have involved alcohol or a sexual assault, or if they witness another crime. 

State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), author of the law, says the $50,000 campaign educates that not only does the law provide legal protections to minors under the influence who report a medical emergency, sexual assault or crime, but it allows first responders to administer medical treatments that counteract the effects of a drug overdose. In some cases, when delivering medical care in these types of situations, minutes make the difference in saving a life.

State Sen. Jim Merritt

“Every 44 hours a college-age person dies from alcohol poisoning,” Merritt said. “Every year there will be a 17-or 18-year-old student who doesn’t know the Lifeline law and could pay the ultimate price.  It is critical that students, faculty, and law enforcement officials know and understand this lifesaving law.”

About Make Good Decisions: Educates teens, young adults, and parents on the dangers of underage drinking and destructive behaviors. Indiana’s Lifeline Law provides immunity to minors for certain alcohol-related offenses. For more information, contact Michele Whelchel,  mwhelchel@indysb.org  www.indysb.org/make-good-decisions

Indiana Youth Services Association: Advocates for children and families by enhancing its members’ ability to implement the core roles of youth advocacy, delinquency prevention, information, referral, and community education. www.indysb.org

Indiana Statewide 911 Board: The board is a quasi-state government agency established by IC 36-8-16.7 and operates under the Indiana Treasurer’s Office.  It has statewide jurisdiction over 911 services.  It’s chair by statute, is an elected official – the state treasurer.  The board’s two primary responsibilities include collecting surcharges from all communication service providers and distributing the funding to local units of government, as well as the operation of a statewide public safety ESInet for 911 calls and texts.

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