- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A group is turning to college campuses and social media to publicize Indiana’s “lifeline law,” saying it believes its ad campaign last year to publicize the statute that lets drug users and underage drinkers report medical emergencies without fear of prosecution saved lives.

Members of the group, which includes public officials, business owners and other advocates, said at a Monday news conference that many young people don’t report substance-related emergencies because they are afraid of getting in trouble. With a new class of freshmen about to start college, they said it seemed like a good time to raise awareness of the law again.

Starting next month, the ads will appear on students Facebook pages and web browsers for a period of about 20 days, according to the campaign. The ads will also air over streaming music services like Pandora, officials said.

“We can pass the very best laws, but if people don’t know what those laws are, then they’re useless,” said Sen. Jim Merritt, a Republican from Indianapolis who sponsored the law.

Passed in 2012 to combat binge drinking by young people, the law can provide immunity to those who call 911 and to those who remain at the scene or provide critical information about how much alcohol or which drugs a person in crisis ingested, Merritt said. It can also provide immunity to those who experience a drug or alcohol-related emergency.

Dawn Finbloom, of Carmel, said her son Brett may still be alive if others who were with him at an underage drinking party in 2012 had been quicker to call 911.

“Call 911 if there is a friend who has a medical emergency,” said Finbloom, whose son would now be 21. “Do no wait and debate out of fear of legal consequences.”

This year’s campaign is also targeting sexual assault, particularly the assault of women who may be passed out or semi-conscious at parties.

Merritt said that because the law is relatively new, it’s important to get the word out, particularly so that it reaches young people who only recently became independent.

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