Pre-med students to watch Colorado parties for binge drinking
DENVER – A group of medical students at the University of Colorado hopes to staff fraternity parties in the next couple of weeks to watch for binge drinking, blamed for the death of a student last fall and spate of deaths around the nation.Anthony Rossi, the founding chaplain of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, said he plans to start the program at Greek functions but would like expand to help any student who wants to host a party.”People are dying at these parties all across the nation because no one is recognizing that these kids are at risk,” Rossi told The Denver Post.The program, Student Emergency Medical Services, will included fully licensed volunteer students certified in emergency medicine. Campuses around the country offer similar programs, but the Boulder effort may be the first to target parties.”We are not at all there to police a party,” Rossi said. “We are not there to tell people what to do. We are there to simply recognize (problems) and save lives.”Last fall, Lynn “Gordie” Bailey and other Chi Psi pledges were told to drink large amounts of whiskey and wine as part of an initiation ritual. He passed out and was found dead the next morning in the fraternity house with a blood alcohol level of 0.328 percent.”When Gordie died they thought, ‘Oh, he just passed out,”‘ Rossi said. “If you had somebody there that just saw this and checked his breathing, checked his pulse, they would have noticed that this guy was in a really dangerous place.”Student Emergency Medical Services would train Greek members about the basic warning signs so that someone is always watching for trouble.Colorado has made efforts to crack down on binge drinking, including new restrictions for the Greek system.Bailey died less than two weeks after the alcohol poisoning death of Samantha Spady, 19, at Colorado State University. At least four other Colorado college deaths and others around the country last fall were tied to alcohol.The student group’s medical adviser, Dr. Ted Young, said he warned Rossi of the difficulties of working with students, school administrators and city authorities. He said success will depend on whether students at parties trust the volunteers.”It is a really good idea,” Young said. “We’ll see if it works in reality.”
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