Miami, law enforcement educate students about alcohol emergencies

Many Miami students don’t know when drinking has gone too far and medical attention is required. Miami’s HAWKS Peer Health Educators along with with Greek organizations, OESCR, MUPD and OPD hope to change that.

This Wednesday, March 8 at 8 p.m. in Wilks Theater, representatives from the university and several law enforcement agencies will hold an informational session and forum for students to learn more about Miami’s Good Samaritan Policy, which allows students to call for medical attention in drug-or-alcohol-related situations while minimizing or removing disciplinary consequences.

Morgan Rice, a junior and volunteer EMT for the Oxford Fire Department, said she hopes the event will help students make safer choices when they drink.

“We’re not telling students not to drink. We just want students to be able to drink responsibly and safely,” said Rice.

During her time at Miami, Leslie McNeill, the assistant director for peer education and substance abuse prevention, has seen the severe consequences that high-risk drinking can have on students.

“Sometimes people talk about being afraid to call [police], but there’s nothing worse than somebody losing their life,” said McNeill.

McNeill said the implementation of Miami’s Good Samaritan Policy came from a push from the students themselves.

“Good Samaritan came about because students advocated for it, and when I look at major changes that have happened on campus, students are the ones that make it happen,”  said McNeill.

Chief Jones of OPD and Sgt. Susan Tobergate of MUPD will join members of OESCR and HAWKS in a panel discussion to answer student’s questions about what to do if someone is overly intoxicated and how to properly get them medical attention.

“The panel’s goal is encourage students to call and never hesitate because they are worried about getting into trouble. That’s the whole reason why Miami established the Good Samaritan Policy,” said Rice.

Pamphlets on sexual assault and pens with the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning printed on them will be available for students to take following the presentations.

This event is part of a HAWKS campus-wide effort during March to raise awareness about high-risk drinking and what students can do to engage in lower risk drinking and legal drinking. This can include drinking less, being wary of where someone drinks and being careful on spring break with drinking, drugs and sexual activities.

Miami’s Good Samaritan Policy states that student protection is not available to students who violate other university policies that warrant disciplinary action such the possession of false identification, assault or property damage. They also state that the university requires students to meet with OESCR and take an educational course and/or meet with a university substance abuse specialist in order to learn, assess and possibly be referred for further treatment. This is to help students learn from a serious mistake so they can avoid similar mistakes in the future.

If you do identify someone who needs immediate medical attention for any reason, call 911 or Miami’s police number: 513-529-2222.