Written by: Emily Robinson | WVUGo Staff Writer
Know the precautions of drinking, before it’s too late.
Last week was the 5 year anniversary of the death of Nolan Burch. On Nov. 14, 2014, the 18-year-old freshman from Buffalo, N.Y. became a victim of hazing at the Kappa Sigma house. During a fraternity party, he was blindfolded, handed a bottle of bourbon and pressured into drinking it at a fast pace. After drinking this and more throughout the night, he became unconscious. Other people thought it was funny and started taking pictures, kicking him and dancing around him. An hour went by before someone noticed and decided to call for an ambulance. Unfortunately, it was too late.
In honor of the anniversary, his parents came to WVU to be a part of a discussion panel and screening for the documentary about the incident and to raise awareness for hazing called “Breathe, Nolan, Breathe.” They partnered with the university to launch the “Would you?” campaign. This campaign is designed to advocate against hazing as well as encourage bystanders to help those in need. Please click the tab below to watch the documentary.Documentary
A few very powerful messages are to be taken out of this incident and documentary about it. The most important one is prevention. It is very important to make sure you take as many measures as you can to help prevent this from happening to you and what to do if you see someone else in this position.
It is common to want to be “cool” and fit in, just don’t risk your life to do so. Do not give in to peer pressure if it could potentially harm you. It is also always a good idea to surround yourself with people that you trust will look out for you in these circumstances. Also, do not be afraid to call for help if you see someone who needs it.
Nolan Burch could still be here if someone had called for help an hour earlier. If you see someone who looks like he/she needs help, call for help immediately. It could save a life.
If you are afraid of calling for help and getting in trouble with law enforcement yourself, don’t be; WVU offers medical amnesty. According to WVU’s safety website, medical amnesty states that bystanders of a drug or alcohol overdose can be safe from prosecution and may not face charges under the campus student Code of Conduct if medical attention is sought immediately. For more information on medical amnesty at WVU, click the tab below.
Obtaining knowledge on the topics at hand is the first step to prevention to help make sure that you or someone close to you does not end up in this position. Knowing about blood alcohol content (BAC) levels are so important. Although you should never operate a vehicle with any alcohol in your system, the legal limit is 0.08%. According to alcohol.org , speech may become slurred at 0.10%. At 0.15%, your voluntary muscles are harder to control, making walking and talking difficult. Disorientation and blackouts may begin in the 0.20-0.29% range. In the 0.30-0.39% range, you may be unconscious and your risk of death increases. At 0.40% and over, you may be put in a coma or your breathing may suddenly stop, resulting in death. Nolan Burch's BAC level was 0.493%.
There are also other factors that can influence your BAC levels such as your body weight, height, how fast you drink it and even how much you have eaten prior to ingesting alcohol. Being aware of the percentage of alcohol in a drink and how much you have of it is important. With this information, you can calculate your BAC level. There are many BAC calculators that you can look up, or you can click the tab below for one.
If you are suffering a loss of this or any other sort and would like to receive counseling, WVU offers sessions at the Carruth Center. The Carruth Center offers many types of counseling including group and individual sessions. If you are interested in learning more about the Carruth Center, click the tab below.
About the Author
Emily has been a writer for the WVUGo Media Team since October 2019. She is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in strategic social media and law and legal studies. She is expected to graduate from West Virginia University (WVU) in May 2022.