Indiana Lifeline Law Aims to Save Lives, Says Senator Merritt

A recently-passed state law aims to protect minors from the legal ramifications of summoning help for a friend under the influence.

Republican State Senator Jim Merritt co-authored the Indiana Lifeline Law, which prevents minors from being arrested for crimes like minor possession or consumption when calling for help for a friend who may be dangerously intoxicated to the point of alcohol poisoning. He explained that it’s a reality that kids in college towns and in high schools drink illegally, and it’s not uncommon that one or more of them drink excessively – to the point of becoming nearly comatose. He added that because they are so young, these kids panic and refuse to call 911 because they don’t want to get in trouble.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the bill unanimously, and now Merritt has undertaken the effort of ensuring young Hoosiers are aware of the law and their new protections. He said the ultimate goal for the Indiana Lifeline Law is to save lives, and he added that it is a personal subject as he has two 19-year-old children as well as a 23-year-old.

The Lifeline Law provides immunity for the crimes of public intoxication, minor possession, minor consumption, and minor transportation alcohol to persons who reveal themselves to law enforcement while seeking medical assistance for a person suffering from an alcohol-related health emergency.