Just a few months ago Saint Anselm junior and New Hampshire State Representative Brian Poznanski, D-Hillsborough, proposed the “Good Samaritan Law.” This law would protect underage and intoxicated students who need medical assistance from an immediate arrest. The idea behind this piece of legislature would be that students would be less fearful of the law when they, or a friend, had a few too many alcoholic drinks. The bill had begun to build steam as more representatives began to sponsor it in order to protect students across the state. However, all of this changed on Oct. 30. The emergency brakes where thrown on and the bill screeched to a halt. It died faster than McNeese State’s defense did against UNH’s spread offense last Saturday. All of the progress that had been made was lost because of the ignorance of the one person the bill most heavily relied on: Brian Poznanski.
You see, Representative Poznanski is just 20 years old and on that night he was arrested for underage drinking. Yes, Mr. Trebek, I’ll take the definition of irony for 1000, please. His arrest forced him to be dropped as the sponsor of the bill, which will not be brought before state legislature in January as it had previously been planned. The bill is still being pursued by the New Hampshire College Democrats, who are looking for a new sponsor for next fall. The Dartmouth College Democrats, who had worked with Poznanski on the bill, has been supported by various student organizations from nearly every college in the state, including UNH.
I ask you today to help make this bill a reality. Writing to your state representative can make a difference. Every weekend college students face the debate of “Should I call an ambulance, or will they be all right? If I call an ambulance they will be arrested, but they could actually be in fine health.” Most of the time the student is okay after some time goes by, but alcohol poisoning can also be a quick death. Students should not have to make this decision, because second-guessing yourself for just three seconds could be the difference of life and death. Life is already a gamble as it is; this added decision does not help anyone. I think that it is terrible that students would be afraid to call for help, but it is the truth. Of course being alive is more important than having an underage drinking arrest on your record, but it is not that easy. It is a scary situation to be in. No one wants to be the kid who got their roommate arrested when they were going to be fine, or to have the worst happen without making a call.
This passing of this bill could save a life of a young college student. It is a travesty that because of the poor decision of one person, the rest of our state’s college students have to face the consequences. Before you call me a hypocrite because I have admitted to underage drinking, also remember that I am not a state representative. I am not trying to pass a piece of legislature that would, indirectly, create amnesty for underage drinkers. It is important for college students to explore everything that a university has to offer, including new social opportunities.
I have said it before and I will say it again, it is time for everyone to face the fact that college students drink alcohol. UNH health services have advertised around campus that 27 percent of students do not drink alcohol. Using simple subtraction it can be said that 73 percent of the students do drink, which is a huge majority. Why not make it a safer campus and make this bill a priority? Alcohol, when not consumed responsibly, is a dangerous substance and the result of this bill could mean life or death for our future students. I know there will be doubters out there, but what happens when a student dies of alcohol poisoning? What if that student is your friend? Or your brother or your sister? Or son or daughter? Would you say that “he shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place” if “he” was your son?
Stay classy, not UMassy.
Stay classy, not UMassy.