Updated 2/24/2010 -- the video is available from the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta: http://www.phigam.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=291&srcid=281&chid=63
Phi Gamma Delta is pleased to announce the release of an updated version of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know! Released July 1, 2008, the feedback of our audience shaped the update of this award-winning film. While the update did not drastically change contents of the video, it provides a contemporary feel to better relate to today’s students. The new Tell Me Something I Don’t Know also features updated statistics, a new host, and allows viewers to hear from Scott Krueger’s parents.
Since its original release in 2003, educators and students and found the video to be powerful tool in opening dialogue about hazing, alcohol use and abuse and other risky behaviors high school and college students encounter. Phi Gamma Delta has distributed over 5,000 copies of this educational video, and we conservatively estimate that it has reached over 100,000 college and high school students and parents.
Scott Krueger, who died of alcohol overdose in 1997, is educating kids today. I bet Kaitlin Venables, who wrote the article that follows, won't binge drink.
Doctor Richard Schwartzstein was Krueger's ER physician in 1997. He now travels to high schools, showing the film, "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" about the dangers of binge drinking in the fraternity environment. (This message can and should be carried to high school kids -- even as young as 14)
Schwartzstein's take-away message:
- Don't leave drunk friends alone. If at all in doubt, call 911.
- Just use judgment -- don't drink, but if you can't do that, hold it back to one drink per hour.
Students learn dangers of drinking
By Kaitlin Venables/ Special To The Town Crier
Thursday, March 3, 2005
Friday, Sept. 26, 1997: A night Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) college students will long remember. The traditional Phi Gamma Delta fraternity party called "Animal House" that took place that night was dedicated to having the 12 pledges of the fraternity watch the famous college movie "Animal House" and eat pizzas while consuming alcohol. Little did the pledges or fraternity brothers know that the night would take a tragic and devastating turn. Eighteen-year-old freshman Scott Krueger, a pledge, imbibed enough alcohol that night to eventually kill him after a long and powerful ordeal.
Doctor Richard Schwartzstein, who worked on Krueger in the emergency room (ER) at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, now speaks at colleges and assemblies about binge drinking. On Feb. 17, he spoke in front of the entire Weston High School (WHS) student body.
Schwartzstein began the assembly by discussing his background. Having worked at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital for 12 years, he had seen many patients die from a variety of causes, though never any from binge drinking. "You rationalize it, and justify it, and move on to the next patient," said Schwartzstein about all of the unfortunate deaths and cases he had dealt with while working in the ER.
However, Schwartzstein shared with Weston High School students that Krueger was different from any of his other patients in many ways. "At a personal level it had an effect on me," said Schwartzstein. With four kids of his own, he looked at Krueger and thought that it could have been any of his children in the same position. "(Krueger's death) seemed so unnecessary," he said.
Schwartzstein went on to discuss binge drinking, and the two take-home messages of his speech. The first, he said, is that students should take care and look out for one another. He asked the audience members to raise their hands if they know someone who has been drunk, which resulted in most of the audience members raising their hands.
He said that teenagers need to take care of those who are drunk. If they don't, and tragedy strikes, "you have to live the rest of your lives thinking you could have done something," said Schwartzstein.
The second take-home message of the assembly is judgment. He began listing off numerous statistics related to alcohol consumption, such as half of the drivers in fatal car accidents are drunk. In addition, 20 to 30 percent of all ER tragedies, 70 percent of attempted suicides, two-thirds of all drownings and 52 percent of all crimes committed in college are alcohol-related. Schwartzstein said that students need to use good judgment when consuming alcohol because "they must live with the consequences for the rest of their lives."
One parent and teacher attending the assembly, Marcy Crowley, said, "Our community does a good job of educating our children about alcohol use. However, when children hear the message about the dangers of alcohol consumption repeatedly and from many different sources, I think we stand a better chance of having the children take away important information that they can use when confronted with (alcohol-related) choices."
Following the take-home messages, Schwartzstein showed a video that was made by Krueger's fraternity as part of the settlement case. This video is now distributed to fraternities across the country.
The video begins as a satire about the issues faced in college, such as alcohol and sex. However, it soon becomes more serious as the narrator begins discussing binge drinking and its effects on people while standing in front of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. Schwartzstein is shown being interviewed in the video as he discusses the incident which led to Krueger's death.
At the "Animal House" party, Krueger and his peers drank a large quantity of alcohol, enough to cause Krueger to feel nauseous, which then led the other pledges to lay him down on the couch. When they checked up on Krueger at an unspecified later time, they realized that he was not responding, and that he was blue, covered in vomit, and had no pulse.
Schwartzstein described that because he was intoxicated, Krueger lost many of his normal bodily reactions. This means that he could not protect his windpipe when vomit blocked it, which resulted in him not getting any oxygen in his blood. Schwartzstein said that it only takes four minutes without oxygen for brain damage to occur.
Krueger was then rushed to the ER where his heart was shocked and, amazingly, it responded. However, although he became stabilized, he had severe damage to his heart, liver and kidney, and in the process, he acquired pneumonia.
On Sunday morning Schwartzstein shined a bright light into Krueger's eyes. He saw that Krueger's pupils were dilated and they did not respond to the light as a person with normal bodily reactions would. He concluded that Krueger's brain had swelled up, and because of its weight and size, it began moving down his spinal chord. This movement was killing all of Krueger's natural bodily functions.
Schwartzstein realized that no matter what the doctors did, Krueger was going to die from what he referred to as "brain death" in just a matter of time.
"The video was a very effective way of delivering the message to our children and to parents about the possible deadly consequences of alcohol consumption," said Crowley.
Many students agreed, as Weston High junior Carol Ann Ritter said, "The video was the best part (of the assembly) because it really got kids to listen, and it opened my eyes to how dangerous drinking (alcohol) can be. When I looked around the auditorium afterwards, I even saw a lot of people crying."
Peggy Shum, also a junior, said, "It was really touching when the narrator revealed that he had been Scott Krueger's best friend, and the assembly as a whole was really effective. I feel that most students are now aware of these kinds of consequences from drinking (alcohol)."
Schwartzstein concluded his speech by discussing some of the corollaries of alcohol consumption, such as how people tend to go to the bathroom a lot when they are intoxicated because the alcohol prevents their bodies from being able to retain liquids. He then said a safe judgment to make while drinking is to not exceed one drink an hour, and that it's a matter of being thoughtful when one drinks, not only about oneself, but about one's friends as well.
"I thought the assembly was very good, and it showed us the dangers of alcohol consumption. It should act as a wake-up call to some students," said senior Emilie Wedel.
The assembly, which was brought to Weston High School in coordination with the student organization Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), helped open many eyes to how dangerous abusing alcohol can be. SADD is also bringing Stephen Wallace, the chairman and chief executive officer of SADD, to Weston in order to have him speak in front of parents and students on March 31.