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Posted on Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:57 a.m.

U-M students push for change in Michigan's MIP law

By Cindy Heflin

University of Michigan students are working for a change in state law and university policy so that an intoxicated, underage person who calls for medical help would not be charged with minor in possession of alcohol, the Michigan Daily reported.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, told the Daily he supports such a change in the state law and believes the Michigan House of Representatives will approve a bill making such a change.


Frustrated in A2

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

Drink a little = get in trouble. Drink to the point where you fall out on your face = don't get in trouble. Makes sense to to me, tie up an ambulance with a drunk when that ambulance could possibly be pulled away from someone with an actual medical emergency. Not to mention depending on how the call comes in police and fire may respond. If you're underage and you drink that much you're fine should be double that of an MIP that didn't need an ambulance.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

The entire concept of a minimum drinking age is ludicrous. It is BECAUSE of these nonsensical laws that we have teenage drinking problems. Abolish the laws, have children be introduced to alcohol by their parents, not their peers, and the problems with teenage drinking will dramatically decrease.

Jimmy McNulty

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

The bottom line is, if you're old enough to carry an M-16 (or M-4 these days) in any of the armed services, you're old enough to drink.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

I'd like to see a requirement that they attend a class explaining the dangers of binge drinking and when the level of alcohol in the blood is dangerous in exchange for not being charged. A free ride (except for the hospital bill) teaches nothing.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

And who will be responsible for paying for that service, why your at it lets make sure they have a nice comfortable place to sleep it off and a ride home. Only in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:42 a.m.

No way this is gonna pass. Too much revenue at stake. they hand those tickets out like candy at halloween..............


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

WOW!, Envy is off the hook nowadays.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

I think this is a disaster waiting to happen... Seems this is just a free ticket for underage drinking, BUT only if they drink enough to need medical attention!!! REALLY? And to comment on servicemen drinking.. I do agree that if you are serving our country then by all means, you should be able to drink. I don't agree with underage drinking because they are "old enough to serve." Unless you are/have, then you don't get to use the excuse... Just sayin...

Jon Wax

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

typical overentitled brats trying to dodge responsibility. and Rep. Irwin must be insane to support this. This country is turning into some montessori, hypersensitive pile of cowards and it's all because the youth of America are too weak to handle adversity/responsibility. You wanna inhale a gallon of booze in half an hour to impress your "friends"? then take what you get: whether it alchohol poisoning or MIP charge. these u of m brats have it soft enough as it is, now they want to be able to break the law AND get away with it? i need a running start for this one: and i quote, from the immortal words of the bard: "HEEE-HEEEEE-HEEEEEEEEH-HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL NO!" oh and Rep. Irwin, you can leave your jacket at the door on the way out. you, sir, are soooooooooo fired! next thing you know these kids will be going for the "I didn't get a 6 figure job right out of college with my useless art history major... hey! i shouldn't have to pay back my college loans!" Peace


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Drunk underage students should be arrested, jailed & prosecuted. PERIOD! The fact that they need medical care shows how totally unable to handle this responsibility. I have been downtown during home game events. I'm always surprised by the after report of so few underage alcohol arrests. The police give most of the students a pass if they're not causing too much problem. It's ridiculous!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

Mike, you would rather them crowd the hospitals instead and occupy beds that actual sick people could use. Yes every once in a while one of these drunk individuals really is in need of medical treatment but the vast majority of times, they rest in a stretcher for hours with NO medical intervention other than an occasional set of vital signs, a sandwich, some juice and some clean clothes to go home in. I call this babysitting. Visit any college town ER on a home game night and tell me you don't use the same term. Probably 90% of them do not receive ANY sort of repercussion let alone an MIP which is nothing. The current law is very lenient and doesn't seem to affect the rate at which underage individuals are currently seeking medical attention so why change it to remove what little influence it may have on the decision making of these folks. I DO think that having no real repercussion to think about will increase alcohol-related incidents.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Jailed for drinking underage? Great idea. It's not like our prisons are tremendously overcrowded or that our tax dollars are already being strained...


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

lest we forget the alumni that are drunk that learned the behavior in college...LOL

Tom Joad

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

This would set a dangerous precedent. As is a minor can have practically zero BAC while driving. Allowing for an exception for MIP when the present to an emergency room for alcohol poisoning or severe intoxication would only encourage more reckless drinking. I'm sure the MIP charge is often handled in court with the stipulation that the accused get help with his or her apparent drinking problem.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

@Mike, You would be amazed to how teenagers think!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

How would it encourage more reckless drinking? Do you think kids plan on going to the hospital? It's not like they say "hey, I would take this jagerbomb, but if I go to the hospital later, I will get an MIP."

Nathan Bomey

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

We've changed the wording to clarify that a changed law would apply to everyone, not just students.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

If the students and Rep. Irwin want to waive the MIP law they should make the person who does seek Medical help continue with Medical help at the person's expense until "CURED". This should take several months of consulting, class room work and some sort of peer support group.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

bingo! and no more arrests at local night clubs of drunken underage kids...because MIP won't be a punishable offense, right?

average joe

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

The word 'Students' jumps out at me- Why is this limited to Students?? Isn't the law applied to everyone?

average joe

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

I see changed the wording to indicate it's not just students.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

It's not limited to students, the article just makes it sound that way.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

I clicked on this headline to try and find an article, but all I found was a link to another newspaper and a short paragraph from that link. Talk about lazy journalism, lol...


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

This is a great idea! That way more ER beds can be occupied by a bunch of drunk, obnoxious kids vomiting all over themselves and we can utilize more medical staff to babysit them while they sleep it off in that very same ER bed for hours...thus making the waits at emergency rooms even longer. I mean...the drunk kid could be released to parent or responsible adult but as it turns out they don't want to call mommy or daddy during these situations... Not to mention the increased risk of alcohol related car accidents, deaths, assaults and numerous other bad things that will tie up your EMS, Fire and Police. You know...we should just make it a totally rewarding experience with absolutely no consequences for them that way they'll do it every weekend. We can all hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' and make it a lovely, pain-free experience. And in regards to the comments about being able to join the military and get married by the age of 18 therefore you should be able to drink...these are totally different situations. We're talking about underage, intoxicated kids who are so drunk that they end up in the hospital...this demonstrates an obvious lack of responsibility and/or education when it comes to alcohol use and there should be more deterrent than just a hang over to prevent it.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

Well you strongly implied it when you said that the staff would just be babysitting them while they sleep it off, and that they could just be released to a parent. And how would this in any way increase car accidents or brawls? Do you think kids would drink more under this proposed change, as if they were planning to go to the hospital?


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Mike, Where in my comment did I say that these kids do not legitimately need medical attention? What I am saying is that it should not become a normal state of mind that 'it's ok if we get obliterated...we can just go to the hospital and we won't get in trouble' There needs to be some repercussion.I don't see it preventing alcohol-related injuries. I see it increasing alcohol-related car accidents, alcohol-related sexual assaults, alcohol related 'brawls' causing a variety of forms of bodily harm/injury. So Mike...we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I'm quite aware of the complications of this subject.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

We're talking about people who legitimately need medical attention. While it may be incongruous to punish those who have a sip of beer while letting go those who get black-out drunk, if this change prevents alcohol-related injuries and deaths, the issue certainly becomes more complicated than you are making it sound.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

There should be a SINGLE "age of majority", I don't much care whether it is 18, 21 or somewhere in between.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

so: under 21 & student gets free pass; under 21 & non-student gets prosecuted? Sounds like rank discrimination, if not the creation of a privileged class. Oh, yeah... we knew that already.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

I don't think you understand the article. It would apply to all minors, not just students.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.


David Briegel

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

Why do we teach our youth how to operate a motor vehicle? Why don't we teach our youth about the proper use of alcohol?


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Great David, Another governmental program! How about the parent(s) teach their child(ren) about the proper use of alcohol? What a concept!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

Kudos to those who help others. I heard that callers do not typically get MIP for calling to get help for a friend. If you call for help, are under 21, but are intoxicated to the point of endangering yourself or others, then those police are required by law to make sure that you are in a safe enough state of health and mind to survive. This does not always result in MIP. There is not some magic happy place that underage drunks just go to in order to sober up. Police departments do not have the space, staff, or funding to have officers get taken off the road for much of their 8 hour shift to stand watch over holding cells containing underage drinkers until they are sober enough to safely go back out into society, but that is what they are required to do. Same goes for the hospitals; they are also required to use their staff and space to take care of intoxicated people. A proactive combined effort between the city and university during student orientation telling new students under 21 in true raw words not to drink under 21 and the ramifications of doing so might be a step in the right direction. Stop with the "your body is a container" sugar coating because it is clearly NOT WORKING. Maybe instead of MIP, violators should have to clean up the urine, vomit and trash left behind or work a shift at hospital or police dept on a bar night. I wonder why it feels to me as though lawmakers in general care more about the people who visit or live in Ann Arbor part time than those who pay taxes to reside here full time? I can guess the answer; it is because you lawmakers do not have to deal with it during OR after. Adult lawmakers who support changing issues that society has already made illegal should first be required to sit in a lawn chair on the corner of Hill and E. University and watch all activity from 1am to 4am. Better yet be required to be a working stiff or homeowner that has to deal with it on a daily and nightly basis.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Good comments.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

On one hand, you have a puritanical drinking law that is the highest in the world, and does nothing to curtail alcohol abuse or alcohol-related fatalities. On the other, you have a group of (theoretically) intelligent young adults, who are lobbying for immunity when they knowingly break a law, to the point where they need to be hospitalized as a result of it. It seems to me that the students have the weaker argument here, and should try to form a national student coalition to lower the drinking age. There will be underage drinking regardless of the minimum age, so at least the government could make a bit more money off of it.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

"On one hand, you have a puritanical drinking law that is the highest in the world, and does nothing to curtail alcohol abuse or alcohol-related fatalities." Maybe it is the highest in the world because we have the most irresponsible juvenile population in the world. It is false that it does nothing to curtail alcohol abuse or alcohol related fatalities. Please cite your proof.

John of Saline

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

I remember when I passed out from fever and dehydration and had to go to the emergency room while a student. It took a LOT of convincing for the nurses to gather that I was SICK, not another drunk student.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

Eyeheart: In 1972 Michigan law makers lowered the drinking age from 21 to 18. Much of the logic behind the move was because young men were actually being conscripted and sent to Viet Nam. Between 1970-75 29 states lowered the drinking age to 18-20. Todays age limit is not the result of a bunch of old men deciding the laws. It is the result of the democratic process. In 1978 Michigan Proposal 13 raised the drinking age from 18 to 21. Michigan VOTERS RAISED THE LIMIT, not old men. I voted against it as I was in the military and 19 at the time. I came home on leave and was able to get served because of my military ID. Well, they were different times. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

If put to a vote the drinking age would stay at 21. Pot would be legalized.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Thank you for the links and history lession. I was not aware that MI voters supported this as they did. In fact, per Wikipedia, they were the first state to raise the drinking age. I say &quot;they&quot;, since I had no part of it, and moved from anothe state to MI after I was 21. I certainly would not have voted for it, had I been here. Here is another blurb from Wikipedia: In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which required states to raise their ages for purchase and public possession to 21 by October 1986 or lose 10% of their federal highway funds. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> So, while I will admit I was wrong on the &quot;old men&quot; comment with respect to Michigan, I do feel that the feds pretty much rammed this down the throats of the states, so on a larger basis, this was at least partially correct. Interesting reading. Don't think for a moment that the feds won't come down in a similar way on if too many states start legalizing weed.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Why should my insurance premiums go to help the clueless students that OD on alcohol? It's a double slap in the face for those that follow the law and don't use excuses to validate their breaking the law...oh hell, why not let people drink and drive as well, or better yet lower the driving age to 14? Would it be the same for some student groping women and when kicked in the groin, asking for an ambulance but not wanting to be charged for the groping...? I'm just saying... @johnnya2...for those of us that are clueless...your argument is just a repeat of the argument used in the 60's. Adult behavior is about learning your limitations...and from the usual Sunday morning puke piles in town, I'd say most MIP haven't learned anything.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

There are plenty of reasons for the drinking age to be 21. I doubt that most will read it, but here is an article that rebuts pro drinking statements. The statistics are not good. If you think 18 year olds should be able to drink because they are sent to war, then protest the wars that put them there. But don't subject the rest of us to the increase in accidents caused by 18 year old drunk drivers and kids getting alcohol problems at an earlier age, as well as influencing their younger friends. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Tex Treeder

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Either raise the age of majority when you are legally an adult to 21 or make it legal to marry, vote, serve in the military and drink at 18. Either you're an adult at 18 or you're not.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

The 21 year old drinking age is a joke. It should be 18 or 19 (if you want it out of the HS). Maybe 18 with a HS diploma and an alcohol awareness course. - At 18 you can get married, but not have a glass of wine at your reception - Buy a house, but not have a housewarming party and a beer on your new deck. - Fight a war in Iraq, but not have a beer with your buddies to celebrate coming home in one piece. Seriously, this law is about a bunch of old men sticking it to the youngsters because they can and it makes them feel like they are doing something. (Actually, at the state level, it is more about retaining federal highway funds, but I digress...)


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Do they charge overdose patients with possession?

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

i dont believe so.but dont say that too loud.they will make a new law for a money on it.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Seems to me that if someone is old enough to carry out our nation's foreign policy with a gun, they're old enough to drink alcohol. Send the Puritans back from whence they came.

Jon Wax

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

lol like u of m students would ever be going to war! good one! peace


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Agreed. Know why England sent the Puritans here and the criminals to Australia? Australia got first pick.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

&quot;A medical amnesty program at the University would prevent underage students who call for aid in cases of over-consumption of alcohol from receiving Minor in Possession of Alcohol citations. Proponents of medical amnesty believe the program will lead to fewer alcohol-related deaths and injuries and more calls for medical attention.&quot; This is absolutely ludicrous. It goes against our state laws certainly takes away any incentive to not drink. Why should U of M students be granted a reprieve from State Laws that govern the rest of us? Is this being pushed by wealthy parents who don't want their names muddied? Unbelievable.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:57 a.m.

This is being pushed by the parents of kids who have died because no one called the hospital when said kid passed out and was unresponsive. Maybe it's just the age gap, but a lot of people I see on have no idea how things in the real world are. In a perfect world kids would say &quot;drinking is illegal and I could get in trouble or die, lets not drink&quot; That is not reality. I'm not saying drinking shouldn't be illegal if you are underage, but if you make a mistake you should not be punished when you try to do the right thing.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

Johnny, see my later post. In 1972 Michigan law makers may have been old, they may have been white and they may have been men. But THEY were the ones who lowered the drinking age to 18. Michigan voters raised the age back to 21.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Good reasons for keeping the drinking age at 21 years. I would rather see a law passed that says all of our soldiers need to be 21 or older. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

When you begin a post with &quot;you have no clue&quot; it really does make people less inclined to take your post seriously. Your argument is not about MIP, it is about the legal drinking age, but the National Minimum Drinking Age Act set penalties for states which set a minimum age below 21. If you want to change the law you need to change it at the federal level. Passing a law making it okay for people to break the law is equivalent to ignoring federal law and subjecting the state to the established penalties.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Sorry Johnny, I disagree.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

You really have no clue do you. 1. If a person is drunk and sees that their friend is super drunk instead of calling the police or going to the hospital, they will likely let him &quot;sleep it off&quot;. 2. The law is not just for UM students, it would extend to ALL minors in the situation. It is just that UM students are actually trying to do something about it. 3. Minor in possession is the dumbest law ever. The fact that we call somebody old enough to vote, enter into marriage (unless of course they are gay), sign a contract, kill in the military, PAY TAXES BUT we tell those same people that they can not have an alcoholic beverage tells the 18-21 year olds that as usual the laws are written by old white guys. In fact, that group can not be represented, because it is against the law to elect somebody that young. A basic form of taxation without representation.