Officials touting impact, promoting awareness of state’s Lifeline Law

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It's been five years since Indiana’s Lifeline Law took effect. Now, officials are once again trying to promote awareness of the legislation, while also touting its impact.

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

The law also extends to those reporting sexual assaults or crimes.

So far, officials say the program has saved at least 43 lives and helped countless others. Now, they’re stressing the importance of making the law common knowledge.

“We can pass all the laws in state government, but if people don’t know about them they’re worthless,” State Senator Jim Merritt said.

Merritt added that the need for creating awareness for the law is particularly important on college campuses, where there’s a new crop of students every year.

“There will always be a 17-year-old new on college campuses, new found freedom, independence, and they’re probably going to experiment with alcohol,” he said.

One of the law’s advocates that was present during the Wednesday press conference was Stevan Stankovich, a former Wabash College student whose fraternity brother Johnny Smith died due to alcohol poisoning in 2008.

“Johnny’s life would have been saved if just one of us knew what alcohol poisoning was if just one of us made the call to 911,” Stankovich said.

Stankovich now travels to college campuses across the state to help raise awareness of the Lifeline Law and how to spot the signs of alcohol poisoning.

“You have to know about the signs of alcohol poisoning and to call 911so you don’t go through what I went through, you don’t have a friend like Johnny Smith that passed away that there are no more Mr. And Mrs. Smith’s that life will never be completely whole again because they don’t have their kid,” he said.

For more information on Indiana’s Lifeline Law, you can visit here.

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