AMS pursuing a medical amnesty policy

Policy would protect students who report substance-related medical emergencies to authorities

AMS working towards medical amnesty policy.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
Officially announced at AMS Assembly on Sept. 19, the Society will pursue a policy of medical amnesty for Queen’s students who report substance-related medical emergencies to authorities.
 
The medical amnesty policy would aim to provide protection for students who seek medical attention as a result of illegal actions. Policies of this sort, which have been implemented at universities including Cornell University and Miami University, usually protect students from the repercussions of activities like underage drinking and use of illegal drugs.
 
“While students should be held accountable for their actions, they should also not be putting themselves or their peers in harm’s way to avoid punishment and maintain anonymity,” Brendan Robson, AMS director of communications, wrote in a statement to The Journal.
 
According to the statement, including medical amnesty in the Student Code of Conduct has been a goal of Team AJW’s since the beginning of their campaign. The Society’s aim is to encourage students to report medical emergencies regardless of the existence of illegal drugs or underage drinking, and protect them once they choose to report.
 
According to Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the implementation of medical amnesty policies on university campuses worldwide, a full medical amnesty policy is an “explicitly stated and publicized policy which protects victims, callers, and bystanders in alcohol and drug-related emergencies from legal or school sanctions.” 
 
The Society added there will be a focus on harm reduction education over punishment. The policy is supposed to ensure there are no reprisals for students who report medical emergencies, which the AMS said will make campus safer.
 
Vice-President (University Affairs) William Greene reported to Assembly on Sept. 19 that consultations were done with the director of campus security over the summer. “We have taken his comments back to the Queen’s Chapter of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy,” Greene said.
 
They are hoping to have a full proposal to the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) before the end of the semester. 
 
The process of drafting the proposal will be a collaboration between David Bath, commissioner of external advocacy, Lucas Borchenko, secretary of internal affairs, and Aaron Bailey, who started the Queen’s Chapter of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy. There will be consultations with all faculty societies. Greene hopes for “full faculty society support.”
 
“Our goal is to move the needle towards harm reduction and student safety overall,” Greene said.
 

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