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Stony Brook University has organized “Red Watchband,” to prevent deaths or injuries resulting from toxic drinking.
What Is Toxic Drinking?
Toxic drinking is overdosing on alchol.
It means consuming so much alcohol the drinker passes out. But while “sleeping it off,” the victim may be quietly dying.
Every second counts.
Campuses all across America are experiencing an epidemic of toxic drinking. The son of one of Stony Brook’s faculty died during his freshman year away at college.
A “Bystander Intervention Program”
Red Watchband is a bystander intervention program that provides the Stony Brook campus community members with the knowledge, awareness, and skills to prevent student toxic drinking deaths. An additional goal is to promote a student culture of kindness, responsibility, compassion and respect.
The Red Watchband movement is designed to end alcohol overdose deaths by teaching students how to handle alcohol emergencies and summon professional help.
Because only students can solve the problem, alcohol and drug specialists worked with student leaders at Stony Brook to develop the comprehensive intervention program. It is offered to all students.
A primary component is a four-hour training session.
Participants learn how to recognize alcohol emergencies and respond effectively. All students who complete the RWB training receive CPR certification and are able to understand how alcohol emergincies are medical emergencies that require immediate, professional care.
Three Primary Campus Myths
- Binge drinking is just partying; nothing bad ever really happens. FACT: Binge drinking is toxic drinking.
- Just let them sleep it off! FACT: Someone who is passed out from alcohol use needs immediate medical attention.
- Someone might get in trouble if I call for help. FACT: Not calling for help may result in a death, which is a lot of trouble.
Alcohol overdose deaths are one-hundred percent preventable.
Set Up a Program in Your Area
The Stony Brook Red Watchband group recommends that you include these areas in your training:
- CPR training
- Facts about alcohol as a drug
- Review of your institution’s alcohol and drug policy, including possible sanctions or amnesty covered in its conduct code
- Debunking of alcohol “first-aid” myths, e.g. drinking coffee, eating, sleeping it off, etc.
- Phone numbers for campus-based resources
- Role plays of making the call
Visit www.stonybrook.edu.sb/redwatchband for more information, as well as a comprehensive list of resources including articles, books and posters. Stony Brook hosts “Train the Trainers” workshops for high schools in the vicinity.
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