The University of Massachusetts Boston’s Recovery Task Force has a lot to celebrate.
The Good Samaritan Policy, which reflects Massachusetts law, will be added to an updated student code of conduct. The policy is said to offer amnesty from certain substance use and possession code violations in cases of overdose reporting.
The addition of the policy is a result of the UMass Boston Recovery Task Force’s very own Andrea Macone. Macone co-founded the Task Force, along with Linda Dunphy, director of University Health Services Health Education and Wellness Program.
The Task Force is an on-campus program that is aimed at providing students in recovery with the resources necessary to support them in their pursuit of attaining their goals: whether those goals are academic, professional, or personal.
It was Macone’s effort that led to this new policy addition. Macone describes herself as “a person in long-term recovery and an active participant and advocate in local recovery communities.” Macone, who is a part-time student in the American Studies graduate program, is also a former employee at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on campus.
"The purpose of regulations like these is to ensure that anyone requiring medical assistance due to substance use receives it in a timely manner. Often, drug users flee the scene of an overdose out of fear of repercussions; Good Samaritan rules encourage individuals to take lifesaving action," said Macone.
Macone first brought the issue to Associate Dean of Students Beth Devonshire when she first started working at UMass Boston. Then, Macone turned to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail DiSabatino. While both Devonshire and DiSabatino were supportive of the policy, nothing concrete came of the meetings. Macone started thinking of other strategies from which she could get support for the policy.
After reading about how the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) passed a legislation to change Columbus Day to Native People’s Day on campus, she thought about contacting them, more specifically Ciro Castaldi, former USG president. Castaldi put Macone in touch with the former Chair of Communications Matt Bowser. Macone noted that Bowser was very enthusiastic about the policy and brought it to the attention of the USG who voted on the matter.
When asked why he took such an interest in the policy, Bowser mentioned that his interest in pre-med and his work as a medical assistant meant a lot to him. He thought the Good Samaritan Policy was important for UMass Boston to adopt. He noted that the USG was very supportive of the policy, which was passed by an unanimous vote.
When asked about the progress, Bowser responded that Devonshire is working on adding the policy to the code of conduct, which involves multiple steps before finalizing.