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Calling for help shouldn’t be a crime.

The Issue

A campus Good Samaritan Policy (GSP) is a life-saving measure designed to prevent students from hesitating to call for medical assistance in the event of a medical emergency related to alcohol or other drugs by ensuring that, in an emergency situation, neither the caller nor the person experiencing overdose is exposed to academic or legal sanctions.

Consumption of alcohol and other drugs is widespread, particularly on many college and university campuses. Dangerous drug prohibitions and legal age of consumption contribute to both binge drinking and consumption of drugs of unknown purity and potency, sometimes leading to overdose. Even though alcohol poisoning can lead to a fatal outcome, many students refrain from contacting emergency services due to a threat of judicial consequences resulting from enforcement of the minimum drinking age or other policy violations. Effective policies protect students whether they are using alcohol or other drugs.

Colleges and universities without a GSP in place increase the likelihood that life­-threatening emergencies on campus become fatal because, fearing harsh disciplinary responses to substance use violations, many students are hesitant to alert authorities during medical emergencies.

SSDP’s Position

Good Samaritan Policies are critical harm reduction tools which should be fully implemented at the campus, local, and state level.

A comprehensive GSP Includes:

Model Policy Background


Strategies for Change

This policy can be implemented at the campus, local, or state level.

Campus Change

1. Identify Decision-makers & Stakeholders at your Institution

The first step to introducing a Good Samaritan Policy is to arrange a meeting with your institution’s policy makers. This could be school administration, student government association, campus health services or all of the above. Be sure to talk to your Outreach Coordinator if you need help determining who you should reach out to first. (Get 15 CAT points for “Develop campaign plan with Outreach Coordinator”)


2. Meet with Decision-makers and Introduce the Policy

Once you have determined who you should be meeting with, schedule a meeting to unveil the policy. During the meeting, rationally and logically present the proposed policy, be sure to use facts and statistics and present your policy brief. Please use our sample policy brief as a template! (Get 20 CAT points for “Meet with Decision Makers”)


3. Leverage Your Meeting into Results

There is a chance that whatever decision-­makers you are meeting with will agree with your proposal. If you can get them to take on the issue with you, you may not have to organize a large and involved campaign in your own. If you sit down with decision-makers and they deny your request, you can show them some of your ambitious campaign plan with the hope of prompting them into trying to negotiate a compromise with you right then and there.


4. Organize a Campaign

If the policy-makers reject your initial proposal then it is time to launch and execute an effective campaign for policy change. For a successful campaign, you will need others to help work on the campaign. This will include each of the following components:


Brokering a Deal with Administration

If your institution’s decision-makers agree with your initial proposal, or they are compelled to do so because of your campaign, it is time to bring your policy change proposal back to the table for negotiation. Obviously, you’ll want all of your demands to be fully met, but it’s more likely that you’ll need to compromise and meet the decision­makers somewhere in the middle. You’re going to have to be careful to not let them take advantage of you and trick you into agreeing to something you don’t really want. You’ll also have to make sure you’re accurately portraying and defending the concerns of the coalition you are representing. Make sure not to sign off on a deal that will alienate any part of your coalition. In any case, you’ll want to start by asking for exactly what you want. Then, if necessary, you can work your way down to a mutually acceptable compromise. (Get 50 CAT points for “Policy changed or adopted”)