Senate panel OKs bill giving immunity to underage drinkers

Underage drinkers in Arizona could be given protections when they call 9-1-1 for help under a new bill that is making its way through the legislature.

A Senate committee approved legislation that would grant immunity to those who drink alcohol under the age of 21 in the event of an emergency.

Dozens of ASU students are in support of the bill on hand at the State Capitol. 

The bill would allow underage drinkers to call 9-1-1 for help without getting a ticket or fined. 

"I call it the saving lives, saving futures bill. I call it save lives because it gives kids who might be drinking underage the opportunity to call 911, or someone who might need help, or for themselves if they feel they're in danger and not be in danger of getting one fo those underage drinking tickets," said Kelli Ward.

The idea came from a former ASU student, Devon Mills.

"We had Jack Culolias die in Tempe Town Lake after leaving a bar, and we were looking for ways to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again," said Devon Mills.

In 2012, Culolias is believed to have drowned in Tempe Town Lake after a night of heavy drinking with his frat brothers.

In a different case, 20-year-old Aidan Mohr did 20 shots of tequila, and friends dropped him off at the E.R. with a note on him, he survived.

"We've had cases where kids have taken people to the emergency room, put a post-it note on them and then left because they were afraid they were going to get in trouble themselves," said Ward.

Ward is hoping to avoid such problems that students say aren't going away soon enough.

"Whether it is with my fraternity or not, a lot of people with drinking are being pushed underground, people are trying to drink as fast as they can, as quick as they can, as cheap as they can, drinks are getting stronger and stronger... it's a last ditch option for someone to get that help they need" said Mills.
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