What new medical amnesty law?
The Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law provides immunity for arrest, charges and prosecution for people seeking medical attention by calling 911 after an alcohol or drug overdose. Not only does this law ensure amnesty from drug charges, but it also protects citizens from underage alcohol use and possession charges.
The amnesty law has been in effect since April 2014, but has not been publicized appropriately. Most drug users and college students have not heard of the legislation and are not aware that they can call 911 during these types of high stress situations without being penalized. While it may seem like a cop out for college students engaging in illegal activity, this law could keep someone in danger alive long enough to get them medical help or into a recovery program.
According to UGA Police, a 19-year-old student passed away in January from alcohol toxicity. Michael McClary, also known as “Big Mike,” was found unresponsive in the back seat of a car on campus after returning from a night out with friends. Nafisat Anjorin, the person who called 911 after one of Mike’s friends finally asked for help says it took the ambulance 30 minutes to get to him. By then, it was too late to save him. Had Big Mike’s friends known about the medical amnesty law, he may still be alive today.
A former University of Georgia police officer is filing a $5 million lawsuit against the state Board of Regents because he was fired for adhering to the new medical amnesty law. Against his supervisor’s wishes, Jay Park refused to arrest two intoxicated, underage UGA students after their RA called for help. He had previously clarified the intent of the medical amnesty law with state lawmakers when he was ordered to arrest a student in a similar situation.
People need to feel more comfortable reaching out to authorities for help in any type of dangerous situation. Call 911. Save a life. The Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law protects you.