Dear Readers: Last week, “Worried Mom” asked how to speak to her pre-college teen about the realities of college drinking and the college hookup scene. The panel reported from the front lines, and I’m hoping their stories will motivate all parents to speak up. Parents: Please share this two-part column with your teen. Expressing informed negative consequences of drinking along with your position regarding alcohol makes a positive difference. Tufts’ parent handbook “Talking with College Students about Alcohol” is a must-read. Find it online at http://ase.tufts.edu/healthed/documents/parentHandbook.pdf. — Lauren
Jessie, 21, Eugene, Ore.: To all college students: Don’t be the kid at the party who needs a babysitter, is puking, picking a fight, passed out — or off having sex you will regret. A friend of mine recently got separated from our group, threw up on the sidewalk, fell off the curb and passed out. The police sent him by ambulance to the ER. Cost: $1,200. He’s still afraid to tell his parents.
Omari, 20, Washington, D.C.: A friend’s cousin died from alcohol poisoning just hours after her college won an important football game. She didn’t even finish her first semester. Regarding hookups, a friend’s words still echo: “I think of how many people I’ve had sex with and wonder, ‘What would my future husband think?’”
Ari, 23, Los Angeles: In addition to being raped while unconscious (last week’s column), I got a DUI at 19. I’d only had two beers all day, so I “covered” for my boyfriend and switched seats. Somehow I blew .11, so the cops took me to jail. Along the way, they stopped to pick up a shotgun which they positioned with the barrel facing my head. Then, the cop in the back seat said he was “hot” and removed his uniform. Next, they sexually harassed me, asking how I liked to have sex, what positions were my favorite, etc. Mind you, I’m cuffed the whole time. It was horrible! After years of contesting my blood alcohol level, and a lawyer, I got the case dismissed and obtained a clean record. A typical DUI costs $10,000. Moral: Don’t drink. I don’t anymore.
Treyvon, 19, Yorba Linda: For me, “hooking up” isn’t nearly as much fun as being with someone I love. However, I don’t judge those who seem to enjoy it. That said, a big concern is how commonly in college drunk girls are raped while in a state of semi- or unconsciousness. Tell your daughter if a guy really wants her, he’ll still want her when sober.
Christina, 21, Marysville: I recommend all students attend a “Red Watch Band” session (free daily at most campus Alcohol and Drug Education Centers). Take-away message: Each body processes alcohol differently — with many contributing factors. Just because a few shots don’t affect you one night, doesn’t mean they won’t the next. Plus, at house parties, you don’t know how much alcohol you’re getting.
Straight Talk is a nonprofit that tackles youth issues with youth advice. Visit www.straighttalktnt.org or write P.O. Box 1974 Sebastopol, CA 95473.