Binge Drinking: A Cause of Death on Many College Campuses
Erica Buschick could not wait to become a special education teacher. An honor student in high school, she was majoring in special education at Miami University in Ohio. Tragically, Erica would never get to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. She died at just 18 years old in her college dorm after a night of drinking and partying. Excessive alcohol consumption was alleged to be the cause of death.
Erica was having a blast at college. She enjoyed socializing with her friends and going out to enjoy the local nightlife.
On January 19, Erica returned to campus after enjoying winter break at home with her friends and family. At around 10:00 that night, Erica and her roommate had already consumed two bottles of champagne. The pair then filled an empty Dasani water bottle with vodka and headed to a friend’s off-campus apartment to continue partying.
Just 45 minutes later, Erica and her roommate had drunk all the vodka in the Dasani bottle. They continued to drink more vodka at the off-campus apartment. Next, the group of friends went out to a bar called Brick Street Bar Uptown. However, Erica was denied entry because the bouncers felt she was too drunk to come inside.
Another friend called Erica’s roommate, who helped Erica into a cab. The two got back to their dorm shortly after midnight. The cab driver recalled that Erica practically fell out of the car, scraping herself as she fell face-first onto the ground. Erica could not walk by herself, so the cab driver helped her and her roommate up to the dorm room on the second floor. The cab driver, out of concern that Erica may hit her head, positioned Erica on a bean bag chair and told the roommate to keep an eye on her. The roommate took a picture of Erica asleep on the beanbag chair, posted it to Instagram, and fell asleep.
The next morning, Erica’s roommate woke up and noticed that Erica was in the same position on the bean bag chair. Erica’s skin was cold to the touch. The roommate frantically called 911, and police and paramedics came to the dorm room. Erica was pronounced dead a short while later.
Erica left behind a loving family: two older sisters who adored her, and parents who never dreamed they would have to bury their youngest child. Though Erica’s father, Eric, does not blame anyone for Erica’s death, he expressed his hope that Miami University would put measures into place to prevent other students from the same terrible fate.
The president of the university stated that a “holistic assessment” of efforts to reduce binge drinking would be completed.
It is well known that most college students are going to drink alcohol. They are free and independent for the first time in their lives, and with that freedom often comes experimentation with alcohol. Colleges and universities around the country have expressed concern about student binge drinking, especially as many parents seek to hold them responsible for students’ injuries. Some deans and officials have recommended required courses on the dangers of alcohol. Others have suggested doing away with on-campus events that allow alcohol. Just as many campuses are now smoke free due to education on the dangers of cigarettes, they may also encourage a reduction in dangerous drinking habits by implementing educational measures.
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