What’s Coffee with a Cop…?

Have a question about campus or local laws? Want the inside scoop on how to avoid getting a citation?

Come to Coffee with a Cop!

May 28, 2014

Women’s Hospital Conference Room 4

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

I attended Coffee with a Cop a few months ago with a list of questions from students and coffee with a copstaff around UNC’s policy on marijuana possession and probable cause for searching residence hall rooms. Not only did I get concrete answers to all my questions, I got some really helpful advice to pass along to students and FREE coffee and cookies…YES!


Take advantage of this opportunity to talk openly with law enforcement; you might be surprised at how willing they are to answer your questions, address your problems, and to offer advice for staying out of legal trouble. Don’t just take it from me; here’s what they say on the Coffee with a Cop website:

“In over 175 cities and towns in 36 states, Coffee with a Cop has done wonders for community trust, police legitimacy and partnership building.

One of the keys to Coffee with a Cop’s success is that it removes the physical barriers and crisis situations that routinely define interactions between law enforcement officials and community members. Instead it allows for relaxed, informal one-on-one interactions in a friendly atmosphere. This informal contact increases trust in police officers as individuals which is foundation to building partnerships and engaging in community problem solving.

So pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee….”

See ya’ll there!

Your Guide to NC’s New Amnesty Law

Have you ever seen someone passed out drunk and thought about calling 911, but didn’t?

What stopped you?

Research suggests that fear of police involvement may be the main reason why people do lawnot seek help in an alcohol poisoning or drug overdose situation, so many states, including North Carolina, are taking legislative action. On April 4th 2013, the NC General Assembly passed the 911 Good Samaritan and Naloxone Access Law, effective immediately. The law is designed to prevent drug overdose deaths (including alcohol poisoning) by providing amnesty for people seeking help in the event of an overdose and by expanding access to naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdose.

So what does this mean for YOU?

1. If you seek medical help on behalf of someone with alcohol poisoning, you will be exempt from certain underage alcohol possession charges.

The law grants immunity for charges from law enforcement, including campus safety. In other words, they cannot ticket you with underage possession or consumption of alcohol if you are you seeking medical attention on behalf of someone who may have alcohol poisoning.

To ensure you receive amnesty, you must do 2 things:

(1) Provide your name when calling 911

(2) Stay with the victim until help arrives.

***UNC is currently working on incorporating Medical Amnesty into campus alcohol policy so that students may also receive immunity from housing and conduct violations in medical emergencies***

911 Shield2. If you seek help on behalf of a drug overdose victim, you and the victim will be exempt from certain drug charges. When it comes to drug overdose, note that the law grants amnesty for a person seeking medical help on behalf of an overdose victim AND the overdose victim himself. Neither can be charged with:

(1)    Misdemeanor drug possession (e.g. marijuana)

(2)    Felony possession of less than one gram of heroin or one gram of cocaine

(3)    Possession of drug paraphernalia

In other words, you can call 911 or seek medical attention if you think a friend has overdosed, and the police cannot arrest you or the victim for any of the above, even if the drugs are in plain sight. If larger quantities of drugs are present or evidence of drug manufacturing, distribution, and/or selling, the law does not offer protection against those charges.

3. You can possess and administer naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdose.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin and more commonly-used prescription drugs like Percocet, OxyContin, and Vicodin. These drugs account for the majority of drug overdose deaths. Naloxone, which can be injected or administered via nasal spray, blocks opioids and reverses an overdose even if the person is already unconscious. Harm NCHRC-logoreduction organizations, law enforcement, and people using heroin or opioid prescription meds are now able to keep naloxone on hand as a safety measure. In other words, a friend or bystander can administer the drug without having to wait for help to arrive.

North Carolina is the 12th state to enact this type of legislation and many more states are following suit. Take home message: if you think someone has overdosed on drugs or alcohol, CALL 911!

Visit North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCRC) website for information on this law.

Why the drinking age is 21, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the law.

“Everyone drinks before they are 21.” “In Europe kids start drinking early.” “Teens just drink because it’s illegal – if it wasn’t illegal, it wouldn’t be as appealing.”

You’ve heard these arguments at some point – maybe even made them yourself. And it’s hard to respect laws and policies you don’t understand or that don’t make sense to you. The quotes above are myths; lowering the minimum legal drinking age has negative consequences here and in Europe. Yes, some people drink before they turn 21, but the fact is that the younger a person starts drinking, the higher their risk of developing alcohol dependence.

Because of all this fancy developmental stuff in our brain, when we are 18, 19, 20, or even 21, we have a hard time figuring out what’s risky. We might objectively know something is risky, but would anything bad ever happen to us? Nooooooooo. Never! (Yep, that’s sarcasm, friends.) You see, the part of our brain that controls judgment isn’t actually fully formed until we’re about 25. And guess what part of the brain alcohol affects? Yep – the part that controls judgment. That’s why people sometimes make decisions while drinking that they wouldn’t make if they were sober, like calling my ex-boyfriend (whoops!). Not only does it affect judgment, but drinking alcohol while your brain is still developing can affect learning and memory. Remind me again why you came to UNC? (Something about a degree…)

I know what you’re thinking – kids in Europe start drinking as teenagers and they’re fine, right? Well, actually, a whole bunch of research studies have found that young people in Europe self-report higher rates of binge drinking (that’s dangerous!), higher rates of intoxication and of alcohol related problems such as trips to the ER than we do in the US. Go America! Another thing – European teenagers are less likely to drive or have cars than American teenagers. Check out the link at the bottom of the page if you don’t believe me.

Here’s how it went down: in the late 60s and early 70s, about half the states lowered their minimum drinking age to 18 and what happened was pretty shocking. Drunk driving crashes and alcohol-related deaths among young people shot way up in those states. Once they raised it to 21, drunk driving crashes and alcohol-related deaths among young people went down. Some number gurus at the National Traffic Highway Administration figured it up and calculated that setting the drinking age at 21 has saved about 900 lives per year. Add that up and it’s more than 25,000 people alive today. I know, I know, you would never drink and drive. But even if you swear on your grandmother’s macaroni salad recipe you’ll never drink and drive, you are still taking a risk by drinking if you are under 21. Remember that stuff I said earlier about your brain? No? Yikes!

Even the American Medical Association says setting the minimum drinking age at 21 is a good idea. They say, “A higher minimum legal drinking age is effective in preventing alcohol-related deaths and injuries among youth. When the drinking age has been lowered, injury and death rates increase, and when the drinking age is increased, death and injury rates decline.” At least 50 studies confirm this. Hard to argue with facts like that.

Source: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/public-health/promoting-healthy-lifestyles/alcohol-other-drug-abuse/facts-about-youth-alcohol/minimum-legal-drinking-age.page