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N.J. Considers Immunity for Underage Drinkers Who Seek Emergency Help

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The New Jersey Senate is considering legislation that would shield minors from prosecution if they call the police for help when friends need medical attention because they drank too much alcohol.

The Associated Press reported May 4 that the law would protect the minor who called for help as well as the minor who needs medical attention. The bill does require minors to provide his or her name to the 911 operator and cooperate with medical and law-enforcement officials when they arrive on the scene in order to be eligible for immunity.

Lawmakers hope the bill will encourage scared teenagers to call for help and save lives. “This is in no way a state-sponsored green light to drink,” said Sen. John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne).

New Mexico has passed similar legislation, and at least eight other states are considering comparable measures.

The legislation has been approved by the New Jersey Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans’ Affairs Committee and is moving to the full Senate for consideration.

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