Ore. Senate OKs medical amnesty for young drinkers

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Senate gave final legislative approval to a bill that would provide some legal immunity to underage drinkers who seek medical attention because of alcohol.

The bill that only needs Gov. John Kitzhaber's signature to become law shields people younger than 21 from alcohol-possession charges if they seek medical aid for themselves or a friend.

Supporters say the legislation encourages young people to call for help rather than stay quiet and risk their health because they fear the legal consequences.

Underage drinkers, however, would not be granted medical amnesty from crimes such as drunk driving or an alcohol-fueled assault.

The state Senate unanimously approved the bill Thursday. The House approved it last week.

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