Mary Ciammett - "Don't Stall, Just Call!"

Mary Ciammett speaks to the students about alcohol poisoning awareness mission organized at the Penn State Lion Ambassadors "Don't Stall, Just Call!" event at Hintz Alumni Center on Monday, April 17, 2017.

On Monday night in Hintz Alumni Hall, Mary Ciammetti told students of the tragedy and heartbreak that can come from binge drinking.

Mary Ciammetti is an anti-binge drinking advocate who has been touring colleges, informing students on the dangers of drinking to excess and ignoring the signs of alcohol poisoning. As a response to the culture of alcohol abuse and deaths associated with drinking, many parents and students across the country have set up a campaign to fight the culture of drinking that poses a threat to college students and high schoolers.

“People are dying because their friends are afraid of getting in trouble,” Ciammetti said. “They assume they could just take shifts watching someone who’s been rendered unresponsive and everything can turn out okay, because they’re so reluctant to report their friends’ condition that could cause severe consequences.”

No one knows the repercussions and the pain that come from binge drinking than Ciammetti, having lost her son, Christian, due to a night of binge drinking and improper attention in 2015. The grief of losing her son is what brought her to crusade against alcohol abuse in young adults through the organization “Don't Stall, Just Call!” that urges students to pay attention to their inebriated friends, as well as themselves when in a party environment.

To illustrate how common and how prevalent the culture of drinking is, and what kind of tragedy it brings to families of those involved, Ciammetti showed students a slide show of her son’s life leading up to his passing. Pictures of him as a smiling toddler led to pictures of his adolescence and young adulthood to the song “Wake me up” by Avicii.

In the middle of the presentation, the music completely stopped and where there were images of a bright young man enjoying the prime of his life there were suddenly pictures of him, bedridden and still, with his friends and family holding his arm and standing over him.

“He was so passionate about learning architecture,” Julia Miller, Christian’s ex-girlfriend said. “He was so smart and charming. But when him and his friends started drinking too much he would tell me to stop acting like a mom when I expressed concern about what was going on. It would make a huge difference if people could get it into their head that drinking can be a dangerous activity.”

Binge drinking in young adults is a serious issue, as 113 people from the ages of 18 to 24 die every year due to excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. From alcohol related injuries, 1800 students die every year, showing that the ones drinking aren’t the only ones affected, Ciammetti said.

“People should take charge when they see their friends in this type of condition,” Nathan Roberts (senior-architectural engineering) said. “Even when they don't seem like they’re in danger, they could definitely end up worse if no one is there to give them attention. The best thing students can do right now is spread the word about alcohol poisoning and abuse.”

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