The 2014-2015 college school year has gotten off to a bad start. There have been multiple reports of freshmen or young students dying in alcohol or drug related incidents or suicides. So far, at least 4 college freshmen have died in suspected or known alcohol related incidents, at least one of which involved a fraternity party at a college in New Jersey.
Below is a summary of just some of the recent deaths at colleges throughout the country; all of them occurred just this past August or September.
New Jersey College Student Dies in Suspected Alcohol Incident at Fraternity Party
A NJ college sophomore at Rutgers died last month in a suspected alcohol incident. According to news reports, the student was at a college fraternity party when she was rushed to a local hospital. She was pronounced dead at around 3:00 in the morning.
Related Laffey, Bucci & Kent case result: $1.1 million – Against a fraternity for negligently serving alcohol which resulted in a stabbing assault of two frat party attendees. Read more results here.
Texas Freshman Dies of Alcohol Poisoning Before Classes Start
A Texas freshman who was rushing a fraternity died from alcohol poisoning; he hadn’t even started classes yet. According to an online news article, police were called to an off-campus party and returned a second time to find the young man’s body.
Michigan College Student Dies After Drinking
An international student from China died in an alcohol related incident in August at Michigan State University. Police say excessive alcohol was involved.
Pennsylvania College Freshman Killed after Jumping from Construction Crane
An 18 year old freshman at State College died after falling off a construction crane being used to renovated a college building. It is unknown whether the death was a suicide or accidental, or whether alcohol was involved. Local law enforcement is investigating.
Maryland College Freshman Dies After Falling into Glass Door at Party
In September, a freshman at a college in Maryland who was originally from Sewell, New Jersey died after falling into a glass door at a party. Alcohol is believed to have played a role.
Young Adults in College – Onset of High Risk Behaviors
Access to alcohol and drugs at college is a serious issue and is often ignored during college orientation. Young students often try to mimic behavior of older college students. For instance, at a house party, in order to “keep up” with older students, a freshman may continue to consume alcohol and eventually succumb to alcohol poisoning or otherwise become injured in an accident or other mishap. This is particularly true for incoming students who are suddenly surrounded by unfamiliar faces and other new students who are less inclined to intervene and help when excessive alcohol consumption occurs.
Binge-drinking is generally down around the country; however, rates of hospitalizations for alcohol abuse (alcohol poisoning, alcohol accidents, etc.) have increased dramatically. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, these rates have increased by roughly 70% in the last few years. To combat the problem, college orientations should include a discussion about signs of alcohol poisoning and what to do in the event of excessive alcohol consumption both on campus and off campus.
Liability in a College Alcohol Related Accident or Death
Individuals who host parties or otherwise purchase or provide alcohol to underage minors may face civil liability. In other words, if you host a party, buy alcohol for a minor, or otherwise allow alcohol to be consumed by minors, you may be sued in a civil lawsuit.
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