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Medical Amnesty

Many states have enacted medical amnesty, which is defined as laws and policies that protect people from liability if they seek medical attention – for themselves or others – no matter the situation.

This means that if someone is overdosing on alcohol or drugs, a bystander can call for help and may not be prosecuted and/or face charges under a school or college’s student code of conduct (and/or state law).

This applies even if:

  • The caller or the person overdosing has committed an alcohol violation, such as underage drinking
  • The caller or the person overdosing has committed a drug violation

Where to find details about medical amnesty

There is no federal law concerning medical amnesty. Many states have their own medical amnesty laws, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

A good place to investigate what the law is like in your state is

In West Virginia, see the West Virginia Alcohol and Drug Overdose Prevention and Clemency Act, W.Va. Code §§ 16-47-1 to -6.

At West Virginia University, review Section 16 of the WVU Student Conduct Code for detailed information.