Lifeline Law campaign continues to gain attention

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a college age student dies from drinking too much too fast every 44 hours.


That’s why for the first two months of school, college students in Indiana have been targeted with a very direct message about Indiana’s Lifeline Law.  The campaign is hitting kids where they live on their cell phones and social media.  Started in August, it put students on Indiana college campuses under a digital dome so when they search Facebook, YouTube and Pandora ads pop up teaching about the Lifeline Law.  State Senator Jim Merritt authored the law and on the Butler University campus Monday they said,  “the law is call 911.  Everyone there has  immunity including the person in need of medical attention.”  If minors are at a party and someone needs help after drinking or drugs the law allows friends to call for help and not be in trouble.

The message has been seen more than two million times in two months through social media in Indiana.  Emmis Communications partnered to get the word out.  John Kessler of Emmis says they ran radio ads.

Kessler explained, “We wanted to reach both the potential student but also their parents simultaneously because we’ve got two different groups of people that need to hear these messages so there is no urban legend on what the law actually means.”


I-Team 8 first started documenting the efforts of the Lifeline law through the experience of the Finbloom family two years ago.  It was enacted just one month before 18-year-old Brett Finbloom of Carmel died.

His mom, Dawn Finbloom, explained on the Butler University Campus Monday “We wish that Bretts’ friends had known about Indiana’s Lifeline Law. And that they had made the call immediately saving their friends life.  He drank too much, too fast, passed out and his central nervous system shut down.”

Brett was one week from his first year in college.

His mom says, “If they had called right away they would have had immunity from arrest and prosecution for underage drinking.  Most importantly they may have saved the life of their friend in need.”

That is the lesson the Finblooms carry onto every Indiana college campus in talks they give along with State Senator Merritt and Attorney General Greg Zoeller.  The next media phase announced this week during National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week is 100,000 business card reminders and thousands of posters will be handed out on campus.


  • Ask your child if they know what Indiana’s Lifeline Law is, then explain it to them.  It’s a law that has now been copied in 17 other states.
  • When Dawn visits each campus she asks the kids to join her team with a three part pledge:  I will do my best to make good decisions. If someone needs help I will make the call. If I need  help you have permission to make the call for me.
  • Watch with your kids our stories with the Finblooms over two years, including talking with the kids who were at the party that night with Brett. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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