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2/8/2018 Rep. Marshall proposes good Samaritan expansion to reach underage drinking emergencies
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) has introduced legislation that extends protections under the Good Samaritan Overdose Protection Act to reach underage persons involved in reporting alcohol-related emergencies.

The bill (2018-H 7305) aims to eliminate a factor that discourages people from getting medical help in alcohol-related, life-threatening circumstances. Immunity from legal repercussions that would otherwise occur from the possession or transportation of alcohol by an underage person would serve to encourage Rhode Island’s youth to report a life at risk to alcohol overdose. Rhode Island's good Samaritan act is currently confined to drug-related overdoses.

Currently, 35 states provide legal immunity for underage persons seeking medical help for a feared alcohol overdose. Providing this pardon to young people can help mitigate the estimated 88,000 annual deaths attributed to alcohol overdose by the Centers for Disease Control.

“This bill is about preventing the deaths of teenagers,” said Representative Marshall. “When a life is in danger, no one should need to weigh that life against their own possible legal consequences. The stakes of not passing this have already been realized.”

Born in part from the death of Timothy J. Piazza, a Penn State University student who lost his life as a result of hazing and failure to report, the proposal has a direct and unfortunate relationship to Rhode Island. A 19-year old Barrington native was among 18 fraternity brothers charged in Piazza’s death.

Addressing this situation, Marshall stated, “That boy didn’t have to die, and many more wouldn’t carry the burden they do if that situation went differently.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston), Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) and Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence). 

For more information, contact:
Legislative Press Bureau,
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457