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New Amnesty Program Aims to Save Lives of Underaged Drinkers

The state today came out with a new policy that’s intended to help save the lives of underaged drinkers who get into trouble.

It’s a form of “amnesty” that will let minors off the hook for underaged drinking if they, or someone in their group, have to seek medical attention.

David Pitman reports.


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The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission says from now on, its agents will not hand out tickets to underaged drinkers…should they have to call 911 in the event that someone overindulges, or becomes the victim of a violent crime, such as sexual assault.

The Commission’s Carolyn Beck says the point of the Medical/Good Samaritan amnesty program is to encourage teenagers to get help, and not worry about the consequences.

“The danger of having your friend die from alcohol poisoning or have serious, permanent medical complications should far outweigh their concerns that someone’s gonna get a Class C misdemeanor for underaged drinking.”

This amnesty policy applies specifically to TABC agents, although Beck says the commission would encourage county, city, and university police to adopt the same standard. 

“And I think that many police officers would agree that when someone calls 911, because of a medical emergency, the priority is the victim, the only concern is the victim, and getting them the attention that they need.”

The amnesty comes on the first anniversary of the death of Carson Starkey, an 18-year-old Austin man who died of alcohol poisining during the pledge process with Sigma Alpha Epsilon at Cal State Poly University.  The fraternity was later suspended.