UA 'Good Samaritan' policy takes fear out of calling for help in - Tucson News Now

UA 'Good Samaritan' policy takes fear out of calling for help in emergency situation

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The University of Arizona's Good Samaritan policy is tackling students' fear of calling for help if someone underage is showing signs of severe alcohol consumption. 

Under this policy, the caller, even if they are underage and have consumed alcohol, will not get in trouble if they call 911 for someone who has alcohol poisoning. 

Brian Seastone, chief of the University of Arizona Police Department, introduced this policy as a pilot program for residence life last year. It became a campus wide policy last spring. 

Last year, 39 percent of on-campus 911 calls were related to alcohol intoxication. More than half of those calls resulted in transport to the hospital, according to University Emergency Medical Services. 

UEMS said they haven't seen an increase in the number of alcohol calls coming in since the policy was put in place. However, they said they've seen students becoming more comfortable with calling for help. 

Rene Hernandez, spokesman for UAPD said they hope this policy will help students become less afraid of consequences and get their friend or peer the help they need in an emergency situation. 

Students who call are referred to the Dean of Students, who then makes sure the situation does fall under the Good Samaritan policy. Hernandez said this also allows UAPD or the Dean of Students to provide resources or help if they believe the student has an alcohol problem. 

"It really opens the line of communication with them and show them that we do truly care about their success here at the U of A and not just be punitive," Hernandez said. 

Students on campus agreed fear is the reason for hesitation in an emergency situation. 

"I definitely feel a fear of, oh, I'm going to get in trouble," said Hannah Pittman, a student. 

"Fear is definitely the thing that would stop me and most people I know from calling the police if something did happen," said Taylor Hibbetts, a student. 

The policy only extends to areas in UAPD's jurisdiction, but Hernandez said they are in communication with the Tucson Police Department about this policy. 

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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