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Bill Encourages Underage Drinkers to Seek Medical Help in Emergencies

| April 23, 2011

On Wednesday, a bill passed the Texas Senate that may help address one of the many problems associated with underage drinking. Senate Bill 1331, which would allow minors to receive immunity from alcohol-related charges when seeking emergency medical help, was introduced by Senator Kirk Watson. According to the Senator, the bill would prevent minors from “[getting] into trouble for doing the right thing.”

While the bill grants immunity to the first person seeking medical assistance for the incapacitated person, it also includes a provision for the mandatory punishment of individuals convicted of coercing others into consuming alcohol. The impetus for these two provisions stems from the tragic case of Carson Starkey—a California Polytechnic State University student who died from alcohol poisoning when his fellow fraternity members failed to seek emergency help. Carson Starkey’s mother, Julia Starkey, praised the bill as “lifesaving legislation,” adding that her son “would be alive today if his peers had not been afraid to get him help for fear of getting themselves in trouble.”

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