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Counseling Center

Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy

What is Medical Amnesty?

The Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy of The City College of New York is available to all CCNY students and all Towers residents. The policy allows students to seek assistance for themselves or a fellow student in a drug or alcohol related emergency without fear of disciplinary action.  
On July 20, 2011, Governor Cuomo signed a "Good Samaritan" law, designed to encourage individuals to call 911 for help in an alcohol or drug related emergency.
The primary reason people do not call 911 in the event of an overdose is because of the fear of getting arrested. The law protects people (those who witness an overdose, those who suffer one, and those who call 911) from being arrested, charged, or prosecuted for drug, paraphernalia possession or under-age alcohol possession. The new law does not protect against arrest, charge, or prosecution for other offenses, such as drug trafficking.

Implementing New York's 911 Good Samaritan Law

Do not be afraid to seek help for yourself or your friend.  Be a Good Samaritan.
If you or a friend is facing a drug or alcohol medical emergency, do not hesitate to ask for help. CCNY has no higher priority than the health and safety of our students. We foster a climate of mutual support; we encourage our students to look out for theirown health and that of their fellow students. health and safety of our students.

Do not be afraid to seek help for yourself or your friend.  Be a Good Samaritan.

If you or a friend is facing a drug or alcohol medical emergency, do not hesitate to ask for help. CCNY has no higher priority than the health and safety of our students. We foster a climate of mutual support; we encourage our students to look out for their own health and that of their fellow students. 

The City College of New York Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy

Any CCNY student or Towers Resident who seeks medical attention as a result of an alcohol or drug emergency can apply for Medical Amnesty. Amnesty can eliminate judicial consequences for the student needing medical assistance, others involved, and any involved organizations. Potential violations covered by the CCNY medical amnesty policy include: drug use,  possession and distribution of alcoholic beverages, underage consumption of alcohol, and disorderly conduct.
Any student who helps another student or Towers resident obtain medical assistance can qualify for Amnesty. This allows students who may have also been drinking to care for their friends without worry of facing a potential judicial process.
Any representative of a student organization hosting an event is expected to call for medical assistance in an alcohol or drug-related emergency.  In this circumstance, the organization hosting the event and the student who made the call on behalf of someone else will not be subject to disciplinary action for the incident.
Repeated incidents are viewed as a health risk.  After the first incident, the availability of medical amnesty to the affected student is at the discretion of Student Support Resources and the Towers Office of Housing and Residence Life.
Amnesty does not necessarily preclude disciplinary action due to any other violations of the Code of Conduct (unrelated to alcohol or drug consumption). Likewise, amnesty does not prevent action by the NYPD or other law enforcement personnel for issues that are not covered by the New York State 911 Good Samaritan Legislation.
To qualify for Amnesty, the student or resident is asked to contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life (if they are a Towers Resident) as soon as possible, by calling 915-507-0070 or by presenting at The Towers Administrative Office on the first floor. If the CCNY student is not a Towers Resident they are asked to contact CCNY Student Support Resources by calling 212-650-8222 or by presenting at the Student Support Resources office in Mar J-15. The student or resident seeking amnesty needs to set up a meeting within five business days of the incident or, if they require outside treatment, within five business days of their return to campus or The Towers. The student will declare their request for amnesty in this meeting by presenting their completed Amnesty application in person. The student is required to complete any assigned alcohol and/or other drug education activities or training modules in a timely manner.  
Likewise, organizations involved in an incident must agree to take any recommended steps to address concerns, such as educational follow up.
Medical Amnesty is not intended for situations that do not require medical assistance.

What are some of the ways that I can help for someone who might be having a medical emergency?

♦    Call 911
♦    Contact CCNY Public Safety at 212-650-7777 (emergency line)
♦    If you are in the Towers, please also contact the Towers security desk at 917-507-0011

How do I know if there might be a medical emergency due to drugs or alcohol?

Call for help, even if you are not sure it is necessary.

Avoid trouble: know the rules of CCNY and the Towers at CCNY?

It's a great idea to get familiar with the CCNY Code of Conduct.
If you are a Towers resident, you will find that the Resident Handbook includes lots of helpful information, including Towers rules and policies.

What Happens to Your Body When You Get Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions.
It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation in a person who is not conscious because of intoxication.
You should also know that a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after a person stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. It is dangerous to assume the person will be fine by sleeping it off.

Critical Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning may Include but not be Limited to

♦    Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.
♦    Vomiting.
♦    Seizures.
♦    Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).
♦    Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).
♦    Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning?

♦    Know the danger signals.
♦    Do not wait for all symptoms to be present.
♦    Be aware that a person who has passed out may die.
♦    If there is any suspicion of an alcohol overdose, call 911 for help. Don't try to guess the level of drunkenness.

What Can Happen to Someone With Alcohol Poisoning That Goes Untreated?

♦    Victim chokes on his or her own vomit.
♦    Breathing slows, becomes irregular, or stops.
♦    Heart beats irregularly or stops.
♦    Hypothermia (low body temperature).
♦    Hypoglycemia (too little blood sugar) leads to seizures.
♦    Untreated severe dehydration from vomiting can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, or death.

Even if the victim lives, an alcohol overdose can lead to irreversible brain damage. Rapid binge drinking (which often happens on a bet or a dare game) is especially dangerous because the victim can ingest a fatal dose before becoming unconscious.

Don't be afraid to seek medical help for a friend who has had too much to drink. Don't worry that your friend may become angry or embarrassed; remember you cared enough to help. Always be safe, not sorry.

What are the signs of an ongoing problem with drugs or alcohol?

Click here for the Indicators of Alcohol Abuse and Dependence. For more facts about alcohol poisoning click here.

How can I, or someone I know, seek treatment for a drug or alcohol problem?

If you think you or someone you know has an ongoing issue, please be aware of college and community resources that can help.
♦    The CCNY Counseling Center offers confidential sessions that can include short term treatment and liaison to resources in the community. The Counseling Center has pamphlets containing addresses and phone numbers of local inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment facilities. This literature is available inside and outside the Counseling Center Suite at Marshak J-15 and can be obtained confidentially.
♦    The Psychological Center offers long term psychotherapy. The Psychological Center can be reached at 212-650-6602 and is located in the CCNY NAC Building in 8/201.
♦    New York is home to hundreds of free twelve step meetings; contact NY Intergroup (212-647-1680) for more information.
♦    Click here for an online treatment locator that can be tailored not only to location but also to the type of treatment being sought.
♦    Click here for a list of other local treatment resources.

What if I, or someone I know, needs treatment but cannot afford it and have no insurance?

Click here for referral information for no cost treatment options.
We also have a relationship with Harlem hospital. Harlem Hospital will not turn away any student seeking assistance, and whenever possible, will help the student obtain affordable insurance.

In Closing

If you have any other questions about the Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy please feel free to contact Student Support Resources at 212-650-8222 or the Towers Administrative Office at 917-507-0070. We are always happy to discuss these important issues with our students and residents; we want to hear from you.

Click here for the Medical Amnesty & Good Samaritan Application.