Annual Event Raises Awareness On the Lifeline Law
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of IYSA
Be sure to join us for The Blind Pig Speakeasy Shindig presented by Turkle and Associates benefiting Indiana Youth Services Association’s (IYSA) “Make Good Decisions” program. The Flapper-style event will be held June 20 at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis and is guaranteed to be the “bee’s knees.”
IYSA membership is comprised of Youth Service Bureaus that deliver community-based juvenile delinquency and family support programming. IYSA’s current 32 members serve approximately 74 Hoosier counties. Youth Services Bureaus (YSB) serve vulnerable youth and families and offer programming that supports positive youth development, including four core roles: Juvenile Delinquency Prevention, Information and Referral Services, Community Education and Advocacy for Youth.
The “Make Good Decisions” program is one of several IYSA youth-oriented programs. “Make Good Decisions” educates teens and young adults on the dangers of underage drinking, alcohol poisoning and drug use and drug overdose.
Carmel residents Norm and Dawn Finbloom are spokespersons for “Make Good Decisions.” Their decision to get involved and advocate for IYSA’s “Make Good Decisions” and Indiana’s Lifeline Law that was expanded upon by Sen. Jim Merritt during the 2014 legislative session came as a result of losing their son, Brett Finbloom, in 2012. Brett, a graduate of Carmel High School, passed away just a week before he was to begin college classes from alcohol poisoning.
The Lifeline Law provides immunity for a minor who calls 9-1-1 to report that someone is having an alcohol- or substance-related health emergency. Partygoers are sometimes reluctant to seek help for a friend who has been injured while over-indulging or who may even be suffering from poisoning or an overdose. They fear they will get in trouble themselves. The Lifeline Law was passed to remove the fear and encourage friends to call for emergency assistance in such situations.
Leading the charge for the Lifeline Law, Merritt has spoken at several middle and high schools, colleges and universities alongside Dawn Finbloom advocating for the law and for the “Make Good Decisions” program.
“Dawn and I have been in several middle schools and high schools and I think it’s incredibly important that we keep talking with administrative-types in education,” Merritt emphasized. “For the last several years, we’ve been working towards getting rid of the stigma of drug and alcohol overdoses and expand the law so that there are no questions asked about a situation where someone is having a drug or alcohol overdose and 9-1-1 is called or texted. In 2012, [former] Indiana Attorney General Zoeller and I were on Ball State’s campus talking with about 80 students about the Lifeline Law and I noticed that there were some EMTs in the back of the room.”
Merritt approached the EMTS and asked, “Do we have that bad of an alcohol problem here? And they said ‘Well, not with alcohol but drugs.’ My job as a state senator is to continue the awareness because there will always be silly 17 or 18-year-old on any college campus as a freshman who has newfound freedom and will be overserved. We need to make everyone aware on those campuses through geofences and other means of awareness that there is a law [that protects them] and nobody has to die.”
Merritt credited IYSA and the Finblooms for their continued advocacy and fundraising efforts and encouraged people to attend this year’s The Blind Pig Speakeasy Shindig.
“I would say to the folks that attend The Blind Pig or any other fundraising event that we have, and to any adult or parent, ‘Help us use your influence and how much you care to help spread the word. Continued awareness is the key to saving lives.”
Join us on Thursday, June 20 for The Blind Pig Speakeasy Shindig and enjoy a night of “Gatsby-themed” fun, food, and fundraising with charity-gaming tables and raffle prizes. This is your opportunity to not only support IYSA but to save the life of an Indiana teen or young adult.
Tickets are selling fast so visit indysb.org/blindpig for ticket and event information.