INDIANAPOLIS — A law aimed at saving lives is getting a new push with a goal of raising awareness.
The Indiana Lifeline Law was created to protect underage kids from criminal prosecution for drinking and related offenses when they report a medical emergency to officials and cooperate with law enforcement.
A new push called "Make Good Decisions" has started to raise awareness of the law by using social media platforms that our youth use every day.
Dawn Finbloom calls herself the parent that no parent really ever thinks they will be. She lost her son Brett in 2012 to an underage alcohol incident. Now, she advocates for the Indiana Lifeline Law and works every day to raise awareness of it.
"I still have hope today that my child will walk back into this room and simply put his arms around my shoulders like he always did. But that won't happen," said Finbloom.
Nine years ago Finbloom said she had what she would call the perfect family. An 18-year-old son, a 13-year-old daughter, and a husband. However, in a matter of minutes she says their lives tragically changed.
Her 18-year-old son, Brett, had just graduated high school and was planning to attend college. He was at a party with his friends drinking when he had too much and started suffering from alcohol poisoning.
"Brett's heart had stopped for too long, by the time the paramedics got there he suffered oxygen depredation for too long," Finbloom said.
He was pronounced brain bead two days later, but Finbloom says her son shouldn't have died that night.
"If they had known about the alcohol poisoning signs and known about the lifeline law that had just become law about a month prior to Brett's passing, then they would have known that they could be a Good Samaritan. They could [have gotten] get Brett help and stay[ed] and cooperate[d] and save[d] the life of their friend," she said.
Finbloom alongside many others, like former State Senator Jim Merritt, are raising awareness of the law through a social media campaign.
"You can pass the best legislation in the world, the best law, but if no one knows about it, it really doesn't make a difference," said Merritt.
They are using social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to encourage underage kids to text or call 911 and stay to cooperate if someone they are with needs medical attention due to consuming alcohol.
The campaign is seeing results - and that's something Finbloom says gives her hope.
"I have hope that his life meant something, that his life was not given in vain," she said.
The Indiana Youth Services Association (IYSA) released numbers from the campaign:
- Every 44 hours a college-aged person dies from alcohol poisoning.
- Most teen-drinking deaths aren’t traffic related. They are from other alcohol infused accidents such as falls, homicides, suicides and alcohol poisoning.
- 9% of the teen alcohol deaths are from simply drinking too much, too fast.
- Since the creation of the Indiana Lifeline Law, 55 lives have been saved
For the IYSA's parent guide, click here.