Four years ago, as a sophomore at the University of Maryland (and at the time President of the UMD SSDP chapter), I was elected to the University Senate, the most powerful policy making body on campus, comprised of 90% faculty, and 10% students. In an effort to place myself in a position to influence campus drug policy, I sought and received an appointment to serve on the Student Conduct Committee. There I proposed adopting a Good Samaritan (or medical amnesty) policy that would ensure students would be protected from judicial sanctions if they called 911 for themselves or a friend who needed emergency medical attention due to an alcohol or other drug overdose. I had no idea that this would mark the beginning of a very long, difficult, and complicated saga, culminating in a Senate vote that took place yesterday. When things began back in 2007, the idea was not exactly welcomed with open arms by the other members of the committee, many administrators were not convinced that implementing such a policy was necessary, and some feared that students would abuse the policy or that it would send a message that drinking/using drugs was acceptable. I was surprised by the level of opposition I faced, and frustrated by the painfully slow process. Even after the student body voted overwhelmingly in favor of adopting the policy, the administration did not take action. Things were not looking good:
- Feb. 14, 2008 Hope for Good Samaritan policy dims
- Feb. 20, 2008 Good Samaritan bill takes last gasps
- Apr. 15, 2009 U. Senate Samaritan policy scuttled
- May 13, 2010 Good Samaritan will face steep opposition in fall
- Sept. 16, 2010 Amnesty protocol unlikely to become policy
- For more info on this long & difficult struggle, visit this page on our site.
- To learn about the issue in general and for resources to help you bring change to your campus, visit our Good Samaritan Policies campaign section.