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Social media campaign publicizes lifeline law

August 25, 2014

Students at 13 Indiana college campuses will receive social media messages about the state law that allows minors who have been drinking to report a medical emergency or a crime without getting in trouble.

Students accessing the Internet through their college or university will receive information about the "lifeline" law on Facebook, YouTube and Pandora, state Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis and the author of the law, said Monday.

The messaging will occur through triangulation among cell towers, creating digital domes over campuses, Merritt said.

"Every 44 hours, a college-age person dies from alcohol poisoning," Merritt said. "Every year, there will be a 17- or 18-year-old silly freshman who binge drinks who doesn't know the lifeline law and could pay the ultimate price," Merritt said.

The $40,000 campaign also includes a series of statewide radio ads featuring testimonials from parents who lost a child through underage drinking.

"I'm Dawn Finbloom and my son Brett died from drinking too much too fast. Everyone at the party was underage and afraid to call for help," the Carmel woman's message begins.

"We can't lose any more young lives," Finbloom said at a news conference with Merritt.

The affected campuses are Indiana University, Purdue, Notre Dame, Ball State, Indiana State, IUPUI, Southern Indiana, Evansville, DePauw, Wabash, Butler, Trine and Indiana Wesleyan.

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