News
4:14 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Zoeller Set to Promote Lifeline Law for Underage Drinkers

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller poses with a tag promoting the state's Lifeline law, which gives legal immunity to minors seeking medical attention for other drunk minors.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller poses with a tag promoting the state's Lifeline law, which gives legal immunity to minors seeking medical attention for other drunk minors.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Attorney General Greg Zoeller and State Senator Jim Merritt will be touring Indiana high schools and colleges again this year promoting an expansion to the state’s Lifeline law.

The original Lifeline law provided immunity from underage drinking charges for minors that seek medical attention for other drunk minors. 

Based on feedback from students they talked with in awareness events around the state, Zoeller and Merritt crafted an expansion approved by the General Assembly this year.  The law now provides the same immunity for underage drinkers that seek police or medical help for any reason.  But students who testified at the Statehouse in support of the expansion say awareness of the law is still a major barrier to its effectiveness. 

Zoeller says student involvement in creating the expansion will help increase awareness.

“Not only is this the right thing to do but their voice can be heard in the legislature and they can be leaders among their own peers,” Zoeller said.

Merritt says young people also still have a lack of trust for law enforcement.

“We are doing our very best to make sure that all law enforcement officers, all EMTs, everyone understands this law,” Merritt said. “And it needs to be reinforced with those that are on both sides of the crisis.”

Merritt adds with prom season beginning, he’s going around to high schools to promote Lifeline.  And he and Zoeller are working with colleges to increase awareness of the law during freshman orientations this fall.