Jesse Drews turned 21 on March 24. Starting just after midnight, he celebrated at a bar in Waupun, Wisconsin, evidently engaging in "power hour" or "21 for 21". Several hours later, he was found unresponsive on a couch in his home.
His mother, quoted in the New York Times:
“I never in a million years thought we would be in this situation,'’ Mrs. Drews said. “Kids have to know about this risk. I hope anybody who goes into a bar and sees this happening will say something.'’
My deepest condolences to Mr. Drews' family and friends.
p>In an article called Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24: changes from 1998 to 2001, by Hingson R, Heeren T, Winter M, Wechsler H. in Annual Review of Public Health. 2005, 26:259-279, the authors used statistical methods:
Estimated number of nontraffic injury deaths of all youth that are alcohol related:
Estimated number of nontraffic injury deaths of college students that are alcohol related:
WAUPUN — A blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit appears to have caused the death of a Waupun man after a night of binge drinking on his 21st birthday in March.
While officials await autopsy results to provide a concrete answer as to what killed Jesse Drews, Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls said alcohol poisoning was likely the cause. Drews' blood alcohol concentration was .38 at the time of his death, Nehls said.
The Waupun Police Department continues to investigate the death, which occurred after Drews spent the majority of his night out at a Waupun bar, Police Chief Dale Heeringa said. Officials will determine if any charges should be referred to the District Attorney's Office in connection with Drews' death, he said.
"Everything is wide open at this point. We are looking into what caused the death and if there's a violation of the law," Heeringa said. "Whatever options we have we are going to discuss with the Fond du Lac County district attorney and the Dodge County district attorney."
Drews was apparently drinking at a bar in Waupun in Fond du Lac County with friends after turning 21 at 12:01 a.m. on March 24. Four hours later, a family member found him unresponsive on a downstairs couch of his home on Buckhorn Drive in Waupun, which is in Dodge County, Heeringa said.
Police will also be asking the Waupun City Council to look into whether the liquor license for the tavern where Drews was drinking that night should be suspended or revoked, Heeringa said.
"It's a very sad, tragic event," he said.
Dodge County Medical Examiner PJ Schoebel said toxicology results are expected back in a coming weeks.
The "21 for 21" or "Power Hour" phenomenon was noted at the Health Blog at the New York Times:
The ritual of drinking 21 or more alcoholic beverages to celebrate the 21st birthday appears to be far more common than expected, according to new research. INSERT DESCRIPTIONJesse Drews died in March on his 21st birthday after a drinking binge.
It’s estimated that more than four out of every five American 21-year-olds drink alcohol to celebrate the birthday milestone, which is the the legal drinking age in the United States. But a new study from University of Missouri researchers of 2,518 students shows that many young adults aren’t just drinking to celebrate — they are drinking to extremes.
Among those students who drank alcohol to celebrate their 21st birthdays, 34 percent of the men and 24 percent of the women reported consuming 21 or more drinks, according to the research to be published in The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The report is believed to be the largest study of the “21 at 21 drinking ritual, which often involves shots of alcohol. The students in the study were followed for four years and asked a variety of questions about their drinking behavior over the course of their college years. Although the findings likely can’t be applied to the general population, the data likely reflect the drinking culture at large, public universities, researchers said.
Based on the data, researchers estimated that half of the men and more than a third of the women who drank on their birthdays experienced blood alcohol levels of 0.26 or higher, the level at which a person is severely impaired and at risk for choking on vomit or suffering serious injury. While researchers say its possible some students overstated how much they actually drank, the consistency of the answers suggests students are consuming large quantities of alcohol when they celebrate a 21st birthday.
“I think a lot of people view this as a feel-good rite of passage and don’t calibrate what a big risk it is,'’ said Kenneth Sher, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the study’s lead author.
Alcohol researchers have been searching for ways to curb the extreme drinking common on the 21st birthday. One concern is that interest in the ritual appears to be spreading because drinkers who attempt or succeed at downing 21 drinks post videos and photos of the drinking binges on YouTube or Flickr or social networking sites like MySpace.
One of the biggest worries about the ritual is alcohol poisoning. The body’s ability to metabolize alcohol depends on several factors, including gender, weight, the type of alcohol, whether the person vomits during the binge and the time period during which the alcohol is consumed. But in some cases, as few as 10 drinks can push blood alcohol levels to 0.30, the point at which the respiratory system slows enough that death is possible.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing, the heartbeat and the gag reflex that prevents choking. A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions. After the victim stops drinking, the heart keeps beating, and the alcohol in the stomach continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate through the system. The victim may experience the following:
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, unable to rouse the person
- No response to pinching the skin
- Vomiting while sleeping or unresponsive
- Slowed breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness
Alcohol Poisoning Requires Immediate Medical Attention
Alcohol Poisoning Cannot Be Reversed By:
- Drinking black coffee
- Taking a cold bath or shower
- Walking it off
The victim must have immediate medical attention.
Call 911, stay with the victim to prevent him choking on vomit, and tell emergency personnel how much alcohol the victim drank.
These Children Died of Alcohol Overdose, So Their Parents Started Foundations:
Taylor Webster's memorial foundation. Taylor died of alcohol poisoning at age 19-- Now his family and friends are working to get the message out, telling their stories and providing information on alcohol poisoning and the signs and symtoms of alcohol poisoning in hopes that lives will be saved.
Bradley McCue's memorial foundation. On November 5, 1998 Bradley turned 21. . He celebrated his birthday in a way that has become increasingly popular, drinking "his age in shots". That amount of alcohol was lethal and he died that night of alcohol poisoning.
Samantha Spady's memorial foundation. A 19-year old student at Colorado State University, Spady died of alcohol poisoning on September 5, 2004, "an unintentional tragedy." The Spadys say the SAM [Student Alcohol Management] Spady Foundation will develop peer-to-peer counseling and other services meant to reduce the risk of alcohol abuse.
Gordie Bailey's memorial foundation. The mission of the Gordie Foundation is to provide today’s youth with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, and through education and promotion of self worth prevent alcohol poisoning, binge drinking and hazing.