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The University Park Undergraduate Association

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The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) The Pennsylvania State University
2009 - 2010 Session
[March 3, 2010] Be it Enacted by the Association, having been brought to floor By 2/3s vote have been considered by the President

[Creation of Medical Amnesty Policy]
(Decided: [Y/N/A])

Nature of the Situation: The Executive Department of University Services has spent the past years advocating for the creation of a Medical Amnesty policy. This Medical Amnesty program will encourage responsible use of alcoholic beverages, increase responsible alcohol use education, and foster social programs inclusive to grooming a safer environment for Pennsylvania State University students. The Medical Amnesty program is based on research of universities throughout the United States. Pennsylvania State University students are exposed to alcohol at social events both on and off campus. In fact, 7/10 college students nationally have consumed alcohol in the past thirty days1. Dangerous misuse instances are rising at University Park in spite of current alcohol consumption education programs. Students who become seriously ill require immediate medical attention. In a Cornell study, the highest reason given for not calling for help for a distressed individual was fear of said individuals getting in trouble2. Fear of legal and Judicial Affairs ramifications with the University and State College Borough discourage students from seeking medical attention. The institution of a Medical Amnesty and Good Samaritan Policy has proven effective at several universities nationwide. Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania experienced reduced medical call reservations by nearly half as a result of these policies. Through discussions with borough officials and University Park administrators, a great deal of philosophical support has arisen. UPUA has always believed that this safety measure should not be a free pass but combined with safety measures. As such it seems
OMalley, P. M., & Johnston, L. D. (2002). Epidemiology of alcohol and other drug use among American college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, (Suppl. 14), 2339. 2 Safety first: A medical amnesty approach to alcohol poisoning at a U.S. university Deborah K. Lewis, Timothy C. Marchell International Journal of Drug Policy - July 2006 (Vol. 17, Issue 4, Pages 329-338, DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2006.02.007)
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that the best course of action would be to explore the inclusion of Medical Amnesty in a complementary BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention of College Students) Program. This program would be administered through University Health Services, and would absolve students from legal and judicial affairs sanctions in exchange for taking part in an educational experience.

Recommended Course of Action: UPUA charges the President in office during the 4th and 5th assembly to see the Medical Amnesty Policy implemented. The policy will incorporate BASICS into Medical Amnesty as f ollows: Medical Amnesty Program: Designed to create a system in which the safety of the ill underage student is continued to be recognized by the involved police departments as a top priority and for this same realization to occur by the ill underage student(s ) friends/ acquaintances/ other students around (who may be underage). y Will protect (1) the aforementioned students (others with the ill student who are underage) who call for medical assistance and (2) the underage ill student. This protection will eliminate judicial and legal consequences provided the completion of all the terms of this policy. This protection will not cover additional crimes committed by underage intoxicated students. The terms of this policy will consist of a working dialogue between all parties involved. The respective aforementioned police departments (depending on location and jurisdiction) will document the incident of underage intoxication for both the underage ill student and the underage callers in the same way as current practice. The documented students will be given the option of abiding by all existing legal and judicial consequences currently in practice or participating in the proposed Medical Amnesty and BASICS Program. The PSU UPUA, PSU Judicial Affairs and PSU Health Services will work together to carry out the Medical Amnesty and BASICS option. Participants will be directed to PSU Health Services for completion of the BASICS Program. Completion of this program will ensure no legal/ judicial consequences for the involved student. Repeat offenses will require further terms and task completion by the student involved and will ultimately end in expulsion from the program.

y y

BASICS Program: The BASICS Program will serve as the educational aspect to the Medical Amnesty Program. A preventative alcohol abuse intervention program, BASICS has proven to be effective amongst young people between the ages of 18 and 24.

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y y y y

The program consists of two interviews lasting for about 50 minutes each. In the first interview, a completed pre-interview questionnaire regarding alcohol consumption will be discussed with the student. The counselor will gather other information related to the student s alcohol use including family history and other social effects. The second interview, usually occurring about a week after the first interview, consists of a discussion regarding information specific to the student. The information covered consists of information on alcohol norms, truths about alcohol myths, and ways to reduce risks associated with alcohol use. Though not a cure all for alcohol abuse, the BASICS Program has been found to be effective in non-treatment seeking students by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services3.

Respectfully submitted, Gavin Keirans President Christian Ragland Student Life and Diversity Chair

Committee Vote: _0__/__0_/_0_

Signature of the Assembly Chair:

Affirm Gavin Keirans President, University Park Undergraduate Association Veto

"BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention of College Students) Is Effective." Alcohol Problems and Solutions. Ed. David J. Hanson. Sociology Dept. State University of New York. Web. 02 Mar. 2010. <>.

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