Medical Amnesty Policy

The University of North Carolina Asheville encourages a living and learning environment that promotes the health and safety of all members of our community.  Drug or alcohol consumption--including excessive consumption, consumption of a dangerous substance, or consumption by someone with sensitivity--can cause serious physical and neurological harm or be life-threatening.  As such, students are encouraged to make responsible decisions and to seek medical attention in serious or life-threatening situations that result from alcohol and/or other drug abuse; students are also encouraged to seek help for any situation where medical treatment is reasonably believed to be appropriate.  If a student is so intoxicated s/he is unable to be awakened, letting that person “sleep it off” is not a reasonable alternative to getting him/her the necessary medical help.  Students may be hesitant to seek help in such emergencies because of fear of potential conduct and disciplinary consequences for themselves, the person in need of medical attention, or the organization hosting the event where the situation occurs.

If medical attention is required, students should immediately contact professional medical personnel (9-1-1).  A (1) student who seeks emergency assistance on behalf of themselves, another student, or a friend experiencing an alcohol and/or other drug related emergency, as well as (2) the individual in distress will not be subject to disciplinary action nor mandatory alcohol and other drug sanctions under the University of North Carolina Asheville Code of Community Standards, as explained below.

Purpose

The purpose of the policy is to facilitate access and remove barriers to students who require medical assistance in alcohol or drug related emergencies, and to provide the opportunity for caring, non-punitive interventions in response to such incidents.

The Medical Amnesty Policy is a key component of the University of North Carolina Asheville’s comprehensive approach to reducing the harmful consequences caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol or other substances.  This policy represents the University’s commitment to informed decision-making and promotion of responsible behaviors when faced with alcohol and drug related emergencies.  In order to achieve these goals, the policy mandates that discretion be exercised, as permitted under the University of North Carolina Asheville’s Code of Community Standards, as follows:

Person in Need of Medical Attention

The policy may apply when a student receives emergency medical assistance that is (a) related to the consumption of alcohol and other drugs, and (b) sought by a person not serving in an official University capacity.  The student will not be charged or sanctioned for violations of University alcohol and other drug related policies.  Students receiving medical assistance in compliance with this policy shall not be referred for prosecution for any state, local or federal crime or misdemeanor solely related to the possession, consumption or supplying of alcohol or other drugs.  The student will be required to consult with the Dean of Students or their designee, and may be required to participate in an appropriate educational program.  Nothing in this policy shall prevent an individual who is obligated by federal, state, or local law, or University policy, practice, or procedure, to do so from reporting, charging, or taking other action related to the possible criminal prosecution of any student.  The Medical Amnesty Policy only applies when a student initiates the call for emergency medical attention and only when the emergency medical attention is needed to address alcohol or drug emergencies. It does not apply when the individual suffering from the alcohol or drug emergency is discovered by a University official (e.g., Campus Police, Resident Assistant, etc.).

In the discretion of Citizenship Education, if the student qualifies for medical amnesty under this regulation, Citizenship Education may refrain from charging or sanctioning the student for one or more violations of the Student Code of Community Standards related to alcohol or other substances.  As mentioned above, as a condition of receiving amnesty, students may be required to successfully complete a substance abuse assessment through the Counseling Center or undergo such other educational activity or medical course of treatment as deemed appropriate by the Office of Citizenship Education.

In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) and University policies and regulations, Citizenship Education can notify the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of students under the age of 21 who receive medical amnesty under this regulation.  A student that does not want his or her parents to be notified may appeal to Citizenship Education.

No individual may receive amnesty under this section more than once in a two year period.  Records of all requests for assistance under this policy shall be maintained by the Office of Citizenship Education.  Participation in any program as a result of this policy shall not be noted on the student's disciplinary record.  In the event an individual who previously utilized the Medical Amnesty Policy is involved in a subsequent alcohol or other drug related incident, this incident and any resulting charges shall be treated as an alleged second offense.

Other Individuals Present

Students who seek emergency assistance on behalf of persons experiencing alcohol and other drug related emergencies will not be charged or sanctioned for violations of University alcohol and other drug related policies.  Students seeking assistance in compliance with this policy shall not be referred for prosecution for any state, local or federal crime or misdemeanor solely related to the possession, consumption or supplying of alcohol and other drugs.  Students may be required to consult with the Dean of Students or their designee, and may be required to participate in an appropriate educational program depending upon their involvement in the situation.  Participation in any program as a result of this policy shall not be noted on the student’s disciplinary record.  Nothing in this policy shall prevent an individual who is obligated by federal, state, or local law, or University policy, practice, or procedure, to do so from reporting, charging, or taking other action related to the possible criminal prosecution of any student.  The Medical Amnesty Policy only applies when a student initiates the call for emergency medical attention and only when the emergency medical attention is needed to address alcohol or drug emergencies. It does not apply when the individual suffering from the alcohol or drug emergency is discovered by a University official (e.g., Campus Police, Resident Assistant, etc.).

No individual may receive amnesty under this section more than once in a two year period.  Records of all requests for assistance under this policy shall be maintained by the Office of Citizenship Education.  Participation in any program as a result of this policy shall not be noted on the student's disciplinary record.  In the event an individual who previously utilized the Medical Amnesty policy is involved in a subsequent alcohol or other drug related incident, this incident and any resulting charges shall be treated as an alleged second offense.

Gathering Information and Documents

During a preliminary meeting with the student or organization, Citizenship Education will gather information pertinent to the facts for determining the appropriateness of granting medical amnesty. This meeting will consider the available facts and documentation, including, but not limited to, the following: Documentation verifying that EMS was called, responded, and rendered medical attention; Documentation of a visit to a hospital Emergency Department; A written report from a police department, other law enforcement entity, or Residential Education; Any record of the Blood Alcohol Level as determined by medical personnel.

Procedures for case management

Students who receive or request on behalf of another person emergency medical attention related to the consumption of alcohol or other substances may be eligible to receive medical amnesty.  Such students should be referred to Citizenship Education.  CE will track each medical amnesty request in order to maintain appropriate data and documentation.  CE will document that the office has discussed the potential for medical amnesty with potentially qualified students or organizations referred to it, explaining the MA regulation, its usage, and that MA is only applicable one time every two academic school years.

Organizations

A representative of an organization hosting an event is required to promptly seek medical assistance in an emergency that is related to the consumption of alcohol or other substances.  Hosting organizations whose representatives seek emergency assistance on behalf of persons experiencing alcohol or other drug related emergencies will not be charged or sanctioned for violations of University alcohol or other drug related policies.  Organization representatives may be required to consult with the Dean of Students or their designee, and that organization may be required to participate in an appropriate educational program. Participation in any program as a result of this policy shall not be noted on the organization’s judicial record.  No organization may receive protection under this section more than one time in an academic year.