Good Samaritan Policy

My friend drank too much and I’m worried! 

Cell phone with information about the good samaritan policy displayed

Alcohol poisoning can be fatal. If someone has had too much to drink or hurt himself or herself while drinking, call for help 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.

Signs of alcohol poisoning

  • Inability to rouse the person with loud shouting or vigorous shaking
  • Inability of a person who was passed out to stay awake for more than 2-3 minutes
  • Slow or irregular breathing or lapses in breathing
  • Weak pulse, very rapid pulse, or very slow pulse
  • Cold, clammy, or bluish skin
  • Vomiting while passed out, not waking up after vomiting, or incoherent while vomiting 

Don’t just let him or her "sleep it off."

What to do

  • Call 911 Emergency for help.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Turn the person on his/her side to prevent choking if the person vomits.
  • Be prepared to give the emergency medical personnel as much information as possible, including any drugs or medications taken.

What NOT to do

  • 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 leave the person lying on his/her back.
  • 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.

Person in need of medical attention

It is imperative someone call for medical assistance when an individual experiences severe intoxication or a serious injury after consuming alcohol. People may be reluctant to seek help in such a situation because of potential judicial consequences for themselves or the person in need of assistance. Since these emergencies are potentially life threatening, the College seeks to reduce barriers to seeking assistance.

Calling on behalf of someone else

An individual who calls for emergency assistance on behalf of a person experiencing an alcohol-related emergency will receive judicial leniency.



What is Tompkins Cortland’s Good Samaritan Policy (GSP)?

“Abuse of alcohol and other drugs can create life-threatening situations that require an immediate response from emergency services personnel. If you see someone who needs help, DO THE RIGHT THING, BE A GOOD BYSTANDER, CALL 911 FOR HELP.

While the College cannot eliminate consequences resulting from violations of the Code of Conduct or state and federal law, efforts will be made to lessen sanctions for students who acted as Good Samaritans and summoned aid.” The student in need of medical attention may be required to receive education and counseling on a case by case basis in the Options Program.

This protocol is part of Tompkins Cortland’s comprehensive approach to reducing the harmful consequences caused by the consumption of alcohol. The following offices have agreed to implement this protocol: Campus Police, Residence Life & Judicial Affairs, Health Services, and the Dean of Student Life.

The GSP represents the College’s commitment to increasing the likelihood that community members will call for medical assistance when faced with an alcohol-related emergency. The GSP also promotes education for individuals who receive emergency medical attention related to their own use of alcohol in order to reduce the likelihood of future occurrences.

What is the "Good Samaritan" LAW?

On July 24, 2011, Governor Cuomo signed into law a new "Good Samaritan Policy" designed to encourage individuals to do the right thing and call 911 for help in an alcohol or other drug emergency.

The College's GSP philosophy is the same as this law. Having a statewide amnesty law is beneficial to our community, and it is hoped that the state's amnesty will result in more students calling for help when needed.

Questions about GSP?

If you have any questions regarding the Good Samaritan Policy, please contact:

Darese Doskal
Director, Student Conduct and Community Standards and Senior Title IX Coordinator

Adapted with permission from Cornell University’s Gannett Health Services