The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 2, 2013

Teen drinking law may help save lives

NORMAN — The problem of underage drinking and binge drinking won’t go away with this week’s passage of Senate Bill 1. But it could help underage drinkers make the decision to call for help when a friend has had too much to drink.

Senators passed the bill and it awaits Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature. We believe it could save lives and encourage Gov. Fallin to embrace the bill and promote its passage among teens.

We’ve written too many headlines announcing the death of a young person who drank too much or got behind the wheel when they were intoxicated. Under-age friends who were with them were scared to alert authorities or call for medical help since they, too, also were drinking.

Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Cliff Branan, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, protects individuals from being charged with underage drinking if they call for help for a friend who may have consumed lethal amounts of alcohol.

Other states have similar “Good Samaritan” laws. No one condones underage drinking, but one bout of poor judgment shouldn’t necessarily lead to another. The law will save lives if the word gets out among teenagers.

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