A new law taking effect this weekend is designed to save lives by taking the guesswork or hesitancy out of seeking medical attention for people having an alcohol or drug overdose. Our Kat De Maria shares reaction to the Good Samaritan Law from people at Le Moyne College, which enacted a similar policy this school year.
DEWITT, N.Y. -- With a new school year at Le Moyne College came a new way of handling situations in which someone notices a friend or classmate in trouble from too much alcohol.
"We're a very fortunate school in that it's a very tight knit community. Students do look our for each other. But what we were seeing was students were taking matters into their own hands," said Mark Godleski, Le Moyne's Assistant Dean for Student Development.
Administrators at Le Moyne amended the college's alcohol policy to look favorably on students who get a friend or classmate medical help, even if they've been drinking themselves.
"I've been in situations where my friends have probably drank too much and if someone's under the influence, then they'll be discouraged from helping their friend," said sophomore Katherine Strieter.
"I think it works a lot on campus and it works very well. Friends can help out other friends who are in trouble or in need, they're there for them," said sophomore Elliott Montalvan.
Now a similar law is coming to New York State.
"If you witness a drug overdose, you don't have to be afraid anymore to bring that person to the hospital and make sure that person gets medical treatment because you won't be prosecuted as a witness or even the person who had the drug overdose wouldn't be prosecuted as a result of the new bill," said State Senator John DeFrancisco.
The Good Samaritan Law, sponsored by DeFrancisco, is in response to thousands of deaths from alcohol and drug overdoses and aims to make the decision to seek help quicker in situations where time is critical.
"Early medical intervention shortens recovery periods and increases likelihood of survival," said Mark Murphy, Vice President of Care Management at St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse.
While the law is designed to protect people's safety, DeFrancisco says it's not meant to allow or make light of any behavior that's abusive or illegal.
"It is not in any way coddling to people who violate the drug laws. It's an acute overdose problem that you can bring people for help," DeFrancisco said.
Students at Le Moyne say their college's alcohol policy and the new state bill, address dangerous realities.
"I think people are finally understanding you can't avoid the problem and it has to be changed because people are dying," said sophomore Megan Pfaff.
The Good Samaritan Law goes into effect Sunday.