Friday, April 20, 2012

Alcohol Poisoning: Not a College Rite of Passage

By Rachel Sherwood

During my freshman year in college, I experienced firsthand the dangers of overdrinking and alcohol poisoning.

My reasons for engaging in this particular form of self-torture ran the gamut of usual excuses: All my friends were doing it, I wanted to fit in, I wanted to try new things, I was bored, I was with friends. I convinced myself I could keep up with my peers and drink just as much if not more than they were drinking.

Within an hour after making that fateful decision, I had downed seven shots of tequila and two margaritas. My last memory of the evening’s exploits involves me throwing up in a trash bin in my dorm. People (some of whom I’d never met) told me I later moved to the restroom. When I came to the next morning, I was still severely drunk and dehydrated, and still throwing up. Glancing at myself in the mirror, I saw broken capillaries peppering my face, red eyes, and a massive bruise on my forehead from when I tried to walk through a closed door face first.

I was lucky. Not everyone survives alcohol poisoning. The parents of Carson Starkey, a college freshman who died from alcohol poisoning from a fraternity hazing, created the Aware, Awake, Alive program to bring awareness to college campuses and “prevent the senseless loss of young adult lives from alcohol poisoning.”

Sometimes stories of drunken mishaps are mistakenly viewed as a badge of honor, or a rite of passage. Most of the time you just look foolish and stupid. Competitive drinking should never be a game.

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