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Steans’ legislation encourages young people to seek help when friends drink too much

steans-teenduiState Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) has secured passage of legislation that grants limited immunity from prosecution to a person who requests emergency medical assistance for a friend showing signs of alcohol poisoning.

“Alcohol poisoning is a leading cause of death for young people in Illinois, and I believe this legislation will save lives by encouraging underage drinkers to step forward and get help for their friends,” said Steans. “It’s an added incentive for people to act before a bad situation becomes much worse.”

In order to receive immunity from prosecution for possessing alcohol while under the age of 21 or providing alcohol to a person under 21, the individual making the call must provide his or her full name, stay with the affected person until help arrives and cooperate fully with law enforcement and/or EMTs. The legislation would not allow restaurants or bars that knowingly serve alcohol to minors to escape penalties, nor would it prevent law enforcement from charging someone who reports a friend’s alcohol poisoning with any other crimes he or she may have committed.

Both the House and Senate have approved House Bill 1336, which must now be signed by the governor before becoming law.

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