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Proposed Bill Would Protect Underage Drinkers in Case of Emergency

IOWA  --  Underage drinkers may soon be able to call for help in Iowa without worrying about getting in trouble.

The bill has already passed in the Iowa Senate and is headed to the House for consideration.

WQAD's Christina Hepner explained how the new bill could help save lives, especially on college campuses.

"College kids are gonna drink regardless, so it's foolish to pretend they don't," said college graduate Mick Vaught.

The new bill is aimed at helping people under the age of 21 who need to call 911 for assistance for someone who has had too much to drink or is in trouble.

"If kids are afraid to get in trouble, they won't report it, and more kids are at risk of dying and other issues with alcohol poisoning," said Vaught.

The bill would not charge them with public intoxication, possession of alcohol while underage, or for having an open container.

Vaught wishes this is something he had while in college.

"I know a lot of my friends would, as well, because it kinda takes away some of the stigma of it, you're not as afraid of getting in trouble."

While some think it could save lives, others think the bill is a waste of time.

"Technically they're not supposed to be drinking anyway, so if you're just giving them a pass to actually do it, then you're gonna probably have more people doing it and it's just gonna make the situation worse," said Robert Taylor.

The bill would also prevent state universities from disciplining students if they report cases of alcohol overdoses, but it would not protect illegal drug use.