Letter to Editor: Manhattan should enact ‘911 Good Samaritan’ policy

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To the editor:

On March 31, The Collegian published an article titled “Drug prohibition laws aimless, defy common sense.” This article did an excellent job of exposing many realties of our nonsensical “drug war.” Unfortunately, there is unnecessary collateral damage of prohibition that is rarely discussed. This collateral damage is the unintended deaths that happen on a daily basis as a direct result of our prohibitive stance. Many alcohol and/or drug-related overdose deaths occur because of the fear of calling for help and can be prevented.

Evidence from a 2006 “International Journal of Drug Policy” article titled “Safety first: A medical amnesty approach to alcohol poisoning at a U.S. university” suggests that the threat of judicial consequences resulting from enforcement of the minimum drinking age and other law or policy violations prevents some students from calling for emergency medical services when needed. This hesitation can result in dire consequences.

As a Kansas State University student and community member, I urge the K-State administration and local community leaders to enact a lifesaving “911 Good Samaritan” policy that encourages students to call the paramedics in the event of medical emergencies related to alcohol or drug consumption.

Kansas State University and the city of Manhattan should offer amnesty to students and community members who exhibit good judgment and call for medical help when it is needed. Such a policy could save a life, or lives, while promoting health and safety on campus and in our community.

Students or community members who want to encourage the university and local community leaders to enact this life saving policy can contact others so inclined at kstatessdp@gmail.com or by attending a chapter meeting of the K-State Students and Community Members for Sensible Drug Policies in Student Union room 206 every Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Sincerely,

Derek Varchulik, senior in social work
President, K-State Students and Community Members for Sensible Drug Policies

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