Too often we hear of young people hurt or killed as a result of excessive underage drinking. Most recently, a fourteen year old girl from Santa Rosa, California was found dead the morning after drinking vodka mixed with soda along with some of her friends. Reports indicate that the teenager obtained the alcohol from the cupboard in parents home where she was having a sleepover party. Additionally, it was reported that the young lady’s mother awoke at 2A.M. to find some of the girls vomiting in the bathroom which she attributed to food poisoning.
Such incidents are tragic, sad and, regretfully, often preventable. Frequently, underage drinkers are fearful of calling parents, medical personnel, or the authorities in the event of an emergency because they worry about the consequences associated with their actions. Thankfully, however, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania took a step in the right direction last week by enacting the “Good Samaritan” law. This law provides that the first person to call 911 in the event of an emergency — who gives their name and remains with the ill person — will be immune from underage drinking or alcohol possession charges. We can only hope that this law encourages underage drinkers to seek help in the event of an emergency so to avoid preventable loss of life in the future.