Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward has sponsored a bill that would provide immunity for people under 21 who have been drinking to call 9-1-1 for help. Having represented hundreds of ASU students for minor in consumption of alcohol, I have reviewed police reports where clients are taken to the hospital for excessive alcohol consumption or have called 9-1-1 to report a fight at a party, only to have the responding police officer issue them a citation for underage drinking.
People Must Face the Unfortunate Inevitability
Tempe and Arizona State University need to realize that underage drinking at college campuses cannot be prevented. Moreover, young people need to be able to trust the police. If a person under 21 is having a serious health issue and needs medical attention, the last thing they should have to worry about is receiving a minor in consumption of alcohol charge.
Immunity is Not Approval
An opponent of Senator Kelli’s bills believes the immunity sends the wrong message to students. I am guessing the opponent believes the bill supports underage drinking. There is a difference between supporting underage drinking and acknowledging that underage drinking takes place. It is naïve to believe that collegiate drinking can be abolished. While I would never support someone breaking the law, if alcohol consumption is done in a safe place, by consuming a safe amount of alcohol and a designated driver is being used, then I don’t feel there is anything wrong with college students consuming alcohol. This senate bill simply reinforces the proposition that police should be around to help us and not be looked at in a fearful light.