Mother of Binge Drinking Victim Urges Students and Parents to Discuss Signs of Alcohol Poisoning, Emphasize Peer Responsibility Prior to Spring Break

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During the next few weeks, thousands of college students across the U.S. will travel abroad or take other trips during Spring Break, a vacation period known for abusive drinking. Kathleen Quartaro, a Choose Responsibility volunteer and mother of a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student who passed away after a night of binge drinking during her freshman year, urges parents and students to discuss the signs of alcohol poisoning and ways to encourage peer responsibility before Spring Break trips begin.

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One phone call can save a life. Do not hesitate to pick up the phone if your friends are in danger from drinking too much.

As college and university students across the country prepare for Spring Break, one of the heaviest-drinking periods of the year for young adults, Choose Responsibility urges students to be mindful of the signs of alcohol poisoning and to seek medical attention for friends who consume too much alcohol. Parents should also familiarize themselves with the signs of alcohol poisoning so that they can empower their young adults to make responsible choices before Spring Break trips begin.

One study in the Journal of American College Health illustrated just how dangerous Spring Break binge drinking can be: according to the study, the average male consumed 18 drinks per day and the average female consumed 10 drinks per day, while half of all men and 40 percent of all women reported drinking until they became sick or passed out at least once. Students must recognize the consequences of this type of toxic drinking and work together to make sure that their peers return to campus safely when Spring Break ends.

“It’s much easier for a student to call for medical help than to call a friend’s parents and explain to them why their son or daughter died of alcohol poisoning,” said Kathleen Quartaro, a Choose Responsibility volunteer and the mother of a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student who passed away after a night of heavy drinking at an off-campus apartment during her freshman year in February of 2009. “One phone call can save a life. Do not hesitate to pick up the phone if your friends are in danger from drinking too much.”

Signs of serious trouble include slow and irregular breathing, pale skin, vomiting, and unconsciousness. If a friend has consumed too much alcohol and is exhibiting these symptoms, do not let them sleep it off. Seek medical attention and help save a life before it is too late.

Choose Responsibility is a nonprofit organization founded to stimulate informed and dispassionate public discussion about the presence of alcohol in American culture and to consider policies that will effectively empower young adults age 18 to 20 to make mature decisions about the place of alcohol in their own lives. To learn more, visit http://www.chooseresponsibility.org .

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