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Medical Amnesty


(A) Policy Statement

The University of Florida (UF) encourages a living and learning environment that promotes the health and safety of all members of the UF community. Drug or alcohol consumption--including excessive consumption, consumption of a dangerous substance, or consumption by someone with sensitivity--can cause serious physical and neurological harm or be life-threatening. As such, students are encouraged to make responsible decisions and to seek medical attention in serious or life-threatening situations that result from alcohol and/or other drug abuse; students are also encouraged to seek help for any situation where medical treatment is reasonably believed to be appropriate. If a student is so intoxicated s/he is unable to be awakened, letting that person “sleep it off” is not a reasonable alternative to getting him/her the necessary medical help. Students may be hesitant to seek help in such emergencies because of fear of potential conduct and disciplinary consequences for themselves, the person in need of medical attention, or the organization hosting the event where the situation occurs. If medical attention is required, students should immediately contact professional medical personnel (9-1-1). A (1) student who seeks emergency assistance on behalf of him- or her- self, another student, or a friend experiencing an alcohol and/or other drug related emergency, as well as (2) the individual in distress will not be subject to disciplinary action nor mandatory alcohol and other drug sanctions under the UF Student Code of Conduct, as explained below.

(B) Purpose Of Policy 

The University of Florida is committed to promoting a safe and healthy environment for all students. A medical amnesty policy benefits our campus by encouraging students to make responsible decisions in seeking medical attention in serious or life-threatening situations that result from alcohol and/or other drug abuse and in any situation where medical treatment is reasonably believed to be appropriate. If a student is so intoxicated or drugged that s/he is unable to be awakened, letting that person “sleep it off” is not a reasonable alternative to getting him/her the necessary medical help. This policy seeks to diminish fear of disciplinary and conduct sanctions in such situations and to encourage individuals and organizations to seek needed medical attention for students in distress from alcohol and drug use. 

(C) Procedure 

UF students who needed medical attention as a result of alcohol and/or illegal drug use and are considered for the Medical Amnesty Policy as determined by the Dean of Students Office, are then required to meet with a staff member at GatorWell Health Promotion Services. The staff member, after evaluating the situation, may also refer the student to a substance abuse specialist for assessment, counseling, and/or possible referral for treatment. Students who are referred but fail to meet and complete the recommendations in their entirety, or students determined by a professional to be in need of a medical or mental health leave (for their own or others’ health and safety), may be subject to additional requirements after an opportunity to meet with a staff member from the Dean of Students Office. If a registered student is transported to an emergency medical treatment center for intoxication or drug use, the student’s parents or guardians may be notified by a telephone call from the Dean of Students Office if necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. If the student is involved in any subsequent (i.e., repeat) alcohol and/or drug abuse incidents, the situation will be evaluated by the Dean of Students Office and/or the Coordinator of Residential Judicial Programs to determine if the student qualifies for medical amnesty. The availability of medical amnesty for students with repetitive violations will be determined on a case by case basis. Typically, situations will be handled through the regular conduct process and will be considered for sanctioning purposes if a student does not demonstrate a commitment to the steps recommended by the health care professional and is involved in repetitive alcohol and/or drug abuse incidents.

  1. The Medical Amnesty Policy applies to UF students who initiate and seek assistance and/or medical treatment on behalf of themselves, another student, or a friend.
  2. If a representative of a UF student organization hosting an event calls for medical assistance, this act of responsibility might mitigate potential Student Conduct Code consequences that could arise against the organization, i.e., the fact that an organization sought help will be favorably considered in potential sanctioning for university policy violations. UF student organizations involved in an incident must agree to take recommended steps to address concerns. In appropriate situations as determined in the conduct process, mitigation could result in the requirement of participation in an educational program or educational activities rather than other disciplinary consequences.
  3. The protocol applies only to the UF Student Code of Conduct, Housing & Residence Education Community Standards, and Greek Life policies. Law enforcement agencies may act within their jurisdictions in enforcing the laws enacted by the State of Florida, the United States, or any other state or nation where jurisdiction may be invoked.
  4. The Medical Amnesty Policy applies only to individuals’ use of alcohol and drugs where medical attention is needed. It does not apply to other prohibited behavior such as illegal distribution of illicit substances, harassment, or assault.
  5. The Medical Amnesty Policy does apply to UF students who are a victim of sexual assault and have also engaged in underage alcohol consumption.

 

Questions

Questions regarding the Medical Amnesty Policy in general, should be directed to: Counseling & Wellness Center (352) 392-1575

Questions regarding the Medical Amnesty Policy for student organizations, should be directed to: Dean of Students Office (352) 392-1261

Resources

  • Dean of Students Office
  • University Police Department
  • Office of Victim Services
  • Housing & Residence Education
  • Counseling & Wellness Center
  • GatorWell Health Promotion Services
  • Sorority & Fraternity Affairs
  • Off Campus Life
  • STRIVE (Sexual Trauma & Interpersonal Violence Education)
  • Alcohol & Drug Education Policy Committee

How To Help A Friend Who Has Had Too Much To Drink

Alcohol poisoning can be fatal. If someone has had too much to drink or hurt him or herself while drinking, call 911 immediately and stay with the person until help arrives. In cases of a potential head injury, even if the person regains consciousness, he or she must be evaluated immediately.

*If a person is experiencing ANY of these signs, call 911*

  • Inability to rouse the person with loud shouting
  • Vomiting while passed out, not waking up after vomiting, or incoherent while vomiting
  • Inability of a person who was passed out to stay awake for more than 2-3 minutes
  • Breathing is slow (less than 8 breaths per minute) or irregular, with 10 seconds or more between breaths
  • Weak pulse, very rapid pulse, or very slow pulse
  • Cold, clammy, or bluish skin

Call 911

Stay with the person until help arrives.

Be prepared to give the emergency medical personnel as much information as possible, including any drugs or medications taken.

  • Do not hesitate to call 911. The person's life is in danger. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Do not leave the person alone. The person may seem to be okay, but the alcohol ingested may take some time to be absorbed before peak levels are reached in the brain.
  • Do not try to give the person anything to eat or drink.
  • Do not put the person in a cold shower. The person could fall or the shock could make him/her pass out.
  • Don’t just let him or her "sleep it off.
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