Indiana’s Lifeline Law Could Expand to Cases Not Involving Alcohol

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): Indiana’s Lifeline Law would expand to cases not involving alcohol under a bill awaiting action from Governor Mike Pence.

The General Assembly voted to change the law this session after it’s original author, Senator Jim Merritt toured college campuses before the session with Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

The law provided immunity from prosecution for people who were drunk in public or who were not of legal drinking age provided they were trying to get help for someone suffering from a medical emergency involving alcohol. Merritt says some students said they were still leery of calling the cops. “They told me what if we come upon someone incapacitated and we don‘t know what happened to them? They could have fallen out of a tree or down stairs. They could have been on drugs. You’re putting me in panic situation, and I‘m trying to be responsible (the students said).”

If Governor Pence signs the bill, the Lifeline Law will provide immunity if the person who has been drinking reports a medical emergency of any kind, reports being the victim of a sexual assault or witnesses a crime being committed. “I think anyone on Indiana University‘s campus, or Ball State, Trine – anywhere, those students will agree with this,” Merritt said.

The bill also would allow first responders to automatically give the heroin antidote drug Narcan to anyone who appeared to be suffering from an overdose. “It doesn’t hurt them if it‘s not heroin that‘s infecting them, but this miracle drug that‘s been around since the 60’s allows someone to just get up and walk away. That‘s how potent this drug is,” Merritt said. The bill was delivered to the Governor’s desk last Thursday according to the 2014 Bill Watch page on Pence’s web site.