What is medical amnesty?
Medical amnesty helps ensure that minors at medical risk as a result of alcohol intoxication, drug overdose or use of a prescription drug will receive prompt and appropriate medical attention. It removes perceived barriers to seeking help.
Michigan law continues to prohibit a minor from purchasing, consuming, or possessing, or attempting to purchase, consume, or possess, alcoholic liquor and from having any bodily alcohol content.
A minor (under the age of 21) will be exempt from prosecution as follows:
The medical amnesty law provides an exemption from prosecution for the following:
- A minor (under the age of 21) who, after consuming alcohol, voluntarily presents themselves to a health facility or agency for treatment or observation, including medical examination and treatment for any condition as a result of sexual assault (as defined in Michigan law).
- Any minor (under the age of 21) who accompanied a minor (under the age of 21) who, after consuming alcohol, voluntarily presented themselves to a health facility or agency for treatment or observation, including medical examination and treatment for any condition as a result of sexual assault (as defined in Michigan law).
- Any minor (under the age of 21) who initiated contact with law enforcement or emergency medical services personnel for the purpose of obtaining medical assistance in connection with a legitimate health care concern.
- A minor (under the age of 21) who voluntarily seeks medical assistance for themselves because of drug over dose or use of a prescription drug that is a controlled substance.
- Any minor (under the age of 21) who accompanies or procures medical assistance for another minor (under the age of 21) as a result of drug overdose or use of a prescription drug that is a controlled substance.
How will medical amnesty affect me?
Simply put, medical amnesty removes a perceived barrier to calling for help.
The vast majority (more than 95%) of U-M students surveyed stated they would always call for help if they felt a friend was in danger, but for those students who said they would not, they cited legal concerns as one reason for not calling – most specifically the fear of getting a Minor in Possession (MIP) violation.
With the passage of medical amnesty, this concern has been removed. Students who are under the legal drinking age or using other drugs may now reasonably expect that if they seek medical assistance for legitimate health care concerns related to alcohol or other drug use, they will not face criminal prosecution in connection with their consumption of alcohol and/or drug use.
So does this mean MIPs are a thing of the past?
The short answer is “No.” You can still get an MIP if the above exceptions are not met.
As an example, let’s say you get separated from a friend who is very intoxicated and he is later found by the police and transported to the hospital. Since you didn’t call on his behalf and he didn’t proactively request help, he may still receive an MIP, regardless of the fact that he needed medical care. It doesn’t mean he will get an MIP, but the police would be well within their authority to write your friend a citation for MIP if they chose to do so.
This is just one more reason, among many, to stay with friends and watch out for one another when alcohol is involved.
See also What You Need to Know About Medical Amnesty In MIP Cases (Powerpoint PDF, 2013) by Kelly Flint, Esq., Staff Attorney at Student Legal Services.
Does medical amnesty apply to university rules and regulations?
Again, the short answer is “No.” The medical amnesty law specifically addresses protocol for law enforcement. U-M maintains the discretion to refer a student for appropriate educational intervention(s).
For more information:
Call the Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Program at 734-763-1320.