Good Samaritan Policy revised to apply to substances besides alcohol

MIT’s Good Samaritan Policy has been updated to protect students who seek help after using drugs besides alcohol. 

“Many of you have called for expanding the amnesty rules beyond just alcohol to apply to medical emergencies involving prohibited substances,” Vice President for Student Life Suzy M. Nelson wrote in an email to students Thursday. “Simply put, I agree with you.”

Broadly, the main idea of the Good Samaritan Policy has always been that MIT wants to encourage students to seek help when they find themselves or their peers in emergency situations. In the past, this has meant that when students seek help for an alcohol-related emergency, MIT treated the associated alcohol usage as a “health and safety matter,” not as a “disciplinary incident.”

This principle will now apply to students using drugs besides alcohol. 

The policy stipulates that students have a responsibility to call for help whenever a peer is in danger due to drug use. 

A second, more minor, change is that the policy and its protections will apply to student groups as well as to individual students: groups that seek help when their members (or others) are in dangerous situations will not face disciplinary actions. 

While disciplinary action will not be taken against students protected by the policy, MIT may still require that students involved with a drug or alcohol incident participate in follow-up education or counseling. 

In addition to introducing the updated Good Samaritan Policy, Nelson used the email to introduce herself to students and announced that, beginning Sept. 9, she will hold office hours each Friday from 11 a.m. until noon.