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Officials reminding young people to remember 911 lifeline in cases of alcohol poisoning

Even though St. Patrick's Day is officially in the rearview mirror, experts warn that the party is far from over for young people. In fact, it is expected that alcohol consumption among teens and young adults will likely peak over the next few weeks now that spring break is in full swing and prom season is right around the corner.

Interestingly, officials here in Texas are growing increasingly concerned not only about the possibility of people under the age of 21 driving under the influence, but also about them failing to call 911 out of fear if they believe someone is stricken with alcohol poisoning.

"There could be some situations this week and St. Patrick's Day ... where some bad set of circumstances could happen and if a kid knew, they would use that 911 lifeline and save a life," said Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin). "And I fear that some won't know and we may lose some kid ..."

Back in 2011, Watson successfully sponsored a "911 lifeline law," which holds that those young people under the age of 21 who call 911 to report possible cases of alcohol poisoning will face neither alcohol possession nor underage consumption charges provided that they are the first person to call for assistance, remain at the scene until help arrives and assist emergency services personnel.

The law was inspired in large part by the efforts of Scott and Julia S., whose 18-year-old son Carson -- a close friend of Sen. Watson's own son -- died of alcohol poisoning during a fraternity hazing ritual at a California university. Here, the fraternity members realized something was wrong with Carson and loaded him into a van to take him to the hospital, but later changed their minds and turned around in route due to fear of getting into trouble.

"We don't want any other families to suffer the tragedy that we have," said Julia S, who founded the nonprofit group Aware Awake Alive with her husband to raise awareness and advocate for 911 immunity laws. "We don't want anyone to lose their son or daughter to alcohol poisoning. It's preventable, it just doesn't need to happen anymore."

According to Aware, Awake, Alive, young people should be on the lookout for some of the following signs, which can be indicative of alcohol poisoning: paleness/blueness, labored/erratic breathing, vomiting, unresponsiveness and confusion to name a few.

Stay tuned for more from our San Antonio criminal defense blog ...

A DUI arrest leaves you with a criminal record that could affect your job prospects, ability to obtain loans or future opportunities. You may also face serious fines, the loss of your driver's license and jail time.

If you have been charged with drunk driving, be certain to contact an experienced legal professional.

Source:

The Dallas Morning News, "For young revelers who get alcohol poisoning a lifeline in emergencies," Scott Goldstein, March 13, 2013

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