Medical Clemency bill passes in Oregon

The Oregon Senate recently approved a bill that would grant similar immunity to possession charges for all underage drinkers in the state who pursue medical help due to excessive alcohol consumption.

As is the case with Linfield’s Medical Clemency policy, House Bill 4094’s ultimate goal is keeping minors safe.

The bill is sponsored by several reputable groups such as The Medical Amnesty Initiative, Lines for Life and many Oregon law enforcement workers who agree that this bill could help save lives.

Linfield’s Medical Clemency Policy allows students to, “seek help for themselves or others, involved in drug or alcohol-related emergencies, without being referred to the formal conduct process.”

This policy is in place on campus to encourage students to get medical help for themselves or others who may have over-indulged in alcohol or drugs by relieving the fear of getting into trouble.

House Bill 4094, which is currently going through the process of becoming a written law, will essentially provide all minors in the state of Oregon with the same legal immunity that Linfield’s Medical Clemency policy already provides its students.

Prior to the approval of House Bill 4094, Linfield students who sought out medical help for an alcohol related emergency were still at risk for receiving minor in possession charges.

Linfield’s Medical Clemency policy only protects students from possession charges when Linfield Campus Safety deals with the case.

However, the McMinnville Police Department often responds to emergency calls made to College Public Safety in addition to Linfield officers.

Under previous law, if McMinnville police became involved in a medical clemency case at Linfield, they reserved the right to issue possession charges to Linfield minors. Now that House Bill 4094 has been approved, this is not the case.

Currently 17 states have effective medical amnesty laws in place, none of which have seen any increase in underage drinking since enacting such laws.

Mikenna Whatley / Staff writer

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