HOW DOES THE MEDICAL AMNESTY POLICY WORK?
In serious or life-threatening situations, particularly where alcohol poisoning or drug overdose is suspected or where other medical treatment is reasonably believed to be appropriate, students are asked to take the following steps:
- Call 911
- Stay with the person needing assistance until help arrives.
- Cooperate with university and emergency personnel throughout situation including after the incident has concluded.
If a student is heavily intoxicated or is incapacitated, letting that person “sleep it off” or having a friend “look after” that person are not reasonable alternatives to getting them the necessary medical help.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MEDICAL HELP IS PROVIDED?
A meeting will be scheduled with a university staff member and will be notified of when this meeting will occur via your MSU email account.
During the meeting, the staff member, after discussing the situation, will determine appropriate educational supports for the student per the University’s Alcohol and Other Drug Tiered Intervention. There will be no cost associated with these educational supports.
These educational supports are required to be completed by the student. Educational support may include, but are not limited to:
- Spartan Smart: an alcohol and other drug workshop
- A confidential one-to-one meeting with an alcohol and other drug specialist
Students are expected to complete the requirements in its entirety. If a student fails to complete the requirements, they may be subject to additional requirements or to formal disciplinary action.
WILL MY PARENTS FIND OUT?
In general, no. Parents are NOT notified by the university if a student needed medical assistance as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption. If a registered student is transported to an emergency medical treatment center for alcohol or drug use, the student’s parents or guardians may be notified by the supporting medical staff if under 18 or deemed necessary.
DOES THE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL AMNESTY POLICY PROTECT STUDENTS FROM POLICE OR LEGAL ACTIONS?
No. The Medical Amnesty Policy only applies to MSU Student Regulations and University conduct processes. It does not prevent or preclude police or other legal actions. However, there is a State of Michigan Medical Amnesty Law and Good Samaritan Law that may also offer some legal protections when seeking medical care or treatment with alcohol or other drugs in involved.
WILL INCIDENTS INVOLVING THE MEDICAL AMNESTY POLICY BE ON MY ACADEMIC OR DISCIPLINARY RECORD?
No. Medical Amnesty Policy incidents will not be entered on the student’s official academic record and will not be listed as a disciplinary record.
WHAT IS NOT COVERED BY THE MEDICAL AMNESTY POLICY?
Other prohibited behavior (including but not limited to distribution of illegal substances; harassment; physical misconduct; sexual misconduct; and hazing). The Medical Amnesty Policy is specific to help seeking behaviors when alcohol or other drugs are involved. In situations of relationship violence and sexual misconduct, please note MSU’s RVSM Policy.
IS THERE A LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF TIMES A STUDENT MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAL AMNESTY UNDER THE POLICY?
No. Students are always encouraged to look after their friends and peers and are encouraged to take responsible actions anytime they are necessary.
However, if a student is involved in repeat alcohol and/or drug use incidents, measures will be taken to appropriately address the behavior according to the following:
- The situation will be reviewed by the OSSA or REHS to determine if the student qualifies for Medical Amnesty.
- If a student has previously received Medical Amnesty multiple times or has been transported multiple times for medical treatment, staff will reach out to student to determine if additional supports are needed in order to prevent future harms and risks related to high-risk use.
- If a student does not demonstrate a commitment to the steps recommended by the alcohol and other drug professional and is involved in repetitive alcohol and/or drug abuse incidents, the University will seek alternative supports and actions which could include a referral to the formal student conduct process.
WHAT IS ALCOHOL POISONING?
Alcohol poisoning is another term for an alcohol overdose, which may occur when individuals consume so much alcohol that their bodies can no longer process it fast enough. Alcohol poisoning and overdoses are potentially lethal; the human body simply cannot tolerate or process excessive amounts of alcohol. Too many college students have died as a result of alcohol poisoning.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF ALCOHOL POISONING OR OVERDOSE?
The signs or symptoms of alcohol poisoning include (not all of these need to be present):
- Confusion or stupor
- Vomiting while passed out, not waking up after vomiting, or incoherent while vomiting
- Breathing is slow (less than 8 breaths per minute) or irregular, with 10 seconds or more between breaths
- Weak pulse, very rapid pulse, or very slow pulse
- Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin
- Loss of consciousness: Inability to awaken a person with loud shouting, or inability of a person to remain awake for more than 2-3 minutes or to carry on a coherent conversation when awake (semi-conscious)
- A person who has lost consciousness and cannot be awakened is in danger of dying. Help is needed immediately.
HOW DO I HELP A FRIEND WHO MIGHT BE EXPERIENCING ALCOHOL POISONING OR OVERDOSE?
- Call 911
- If you are in a residence hall on campus, send someone to notify University Housing staff at the front desk in the building, but do not leave the person alone.
- Stay with the person until emergency help arrives.
- Be prepared to give the emergency medical personnel as much information as possible including the amount and type of alcohol or substances consumed.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER CALLING FOR HELP?
- Stay with the individual until help arrives
- Stay on the line with emergency personnel
- If comfortable, follow the instructions of emergency personnel
- If possible, ask for someone to meet emergency personnel outside to escort emergency personnel to the incapacitated individual
WHAT SHOULD I AVOID WHEN HELPING SOMEONE EXPERIENCING ALCOHOL POISONING OR OVERDOSE?
- Do not hesitate to call 911. The person’s life is in danger. Better to be safe.
- Do not leave the person alone. The person may seem to be okay, but the alcohol ingested may take some time to be absorbed before peak levels are reached in the brain.
- Do not try to give the person anything to eat or drink.
- Do not put the person in a cold shower. The person could fall or the shock could cause them to become unconscious.
- Do not try to induce vomiting. Vomiting may happen naturally while the person is conscious, but do not try to induce vomiting. If the person is unconscious, unable to wake up when vomiting or incoherent when vomiting, turn them on their side and call 911 immediately.
- Do not just let them “sleep it off” or “take care” of the person.