- Show the 10 minute slide show of Shelby so the audience knows who she is and will better understand loss .
My name is Debbie Allen and on
December 20th, the first night of Christmas break, my 17 year old daughter died of acute alcohol poisoning (remember that
What I am about to share with you is another reason why underage drinking is dangerous
It is unclear exactly what happened that night, but we have been told that
Shelby and some friends began drinking alcohol at a friend's house, where she was visiting. Shelby became violently ill and
semi-conscious when her friends propped up near a toilet and left her. When she was discovered the next morning
she could not be revived. She never even had a chance to make it to the ER where she could possible have been saved
because she was left alone and no medical help was called.
My Shelby was the girl that everybody
liked, as one child said "popular without attitude". At this time of her life she was excited and happy with
Her future with picking a college, she was an good student, cross country and track
runner, Drama student (had just received a lead role), snowboarder, loved taking pictures of the sky, having the wind
in her face, played the piano, a talented artist, loved life, (at christmas she had ordered a big sticker for her car that
said "Dig Life"), loved her home, Dad and Mom & her older sister Tera. And she loved her white german sherpherd
dog "Koda" who through her own words she called "the love of her life". She had already told
me that she wanted to have children one day when it was the right time. The list goes on and on .
. . . . .
In the aftermath of this unbelievable tragedy
I began asking questions:
In my initial grieving I asked, how did I miss this, after all,
I was raised in a law enforcement family, I had a ten year career myself in law enforcement and I was a teen myself in L.A.,
Ca. in the 70's experimenting with alcohol.
And then it hit me, I had never known a teen
that died of alcohol. Not one, we didn't die after a few hours after drinking alcohol.
As I talked to teens I came to realize that most of them have no clue that drinking just a few too many swallows
of an 80 proof alcohol, like vodka, can KILL YOU. Shockingly I came to realize that most adults have no clue to the
dangers of alcohol poisoning, myself included.
Sure we know that excessive drinking can make
us sick or make us do things that are embarrassing and leave us with a headach and nasty hangover.
And many of us remember letting a friend sleep it off.
But we have no idea how easily that friend might have slipped into a deadly coma or vomit in their sleep,
choke to death and die.
Especially if the style of drinking is aggressive (Large amounts
of alcohol in short periods of time.) BINGE DRINKING
I learned that nowadays the alcohol
of choice is vodka and drinking with shots, as you get drunk quicker and without the smell of alcohol so you don't
get in trouble (where in my time that was the old man's drink).
Also, drinking games
have become popular which create even more aggressive competative drinking, and creates a higher chance of being a alcohol
poisoning victim (in fact this recent culture of binge drinking, has created the exact recipe for "ACUTE ALCOHOL POISONING".
To my horror I've also learned that there is a very comfortable attitude with being
with, or near, or being yourself, a vomiting person (sometimes there are even pictures taken). And yet this is usually
one of the first alarms that something is wrong with our body (and it's not a little alarm, it's a serious alarm).
As unfair as it seems if you are a GIRL, your risk is increased. This has to do with enzymes that
males have more of that helps break alcohol down in their digestive systems that females do not have as much of.
"PERFORM DEMONSTRATION OF DRINKING RAT POISON TO EDUCATE THAT ALCOHOL IS ALSO A POISON."
"PERFORM SKIT WITH STUDENTS TO DEMONSTRATE ALCOHOL AMOUNTS". (The skit is a demonstration
where student volunteers participate in a drinking game with 8 oz of water. At the conclusion of the game Debbie explains
that the amount of water the students drank in avout 30 seconds is the amount of alcohol assuming an 80 proof vodka, that
the Coroner reported finding during Shelbys autopsy (BAC of .33). This graphic demonstration of how little an amount
of vodka can lead to acute alcohol poisoning is a highlight of the presentation)
a young woman of Shelbys 107 lb 5'6' frame as little as 8 ounces of 80 proof vodka over an hour or two can lead to coma and
death if no medical attention care is provided.
"DEMONSTRATE with glassware the different
alcohol strengths between beer, wine and hard liquor to show how quickly drinking shots of hard alcohol can lead to acute
Once alcohol poisoning has occurred the only way to save
a life is to get the poison pumped and flushed out of the body. And this can only be done with medical intervention.
BUT, the GOOD NEWS is, almost 100% of the time a person is completely saved if medical care is provided!
Shelby's untimely and ultimately preventable death has devastated my family. And while we understand
that underage drinking is a terrible problem, my family and I are realists and know that underage drinking is occurring.
Our daughter made poor choices that night, but those choices should never have led to her death.
It is the hard truth that despite a parent's best efforts to protect their children, in the end your safety, your
very life, can come down to the people that you are with knowing when and how to ask for help.
there is also a new culture of parents and adults that believe serving a young person alcohol in the home is safe. This attitude
is simply wrong, and here are some of the reasons why:
2. New research shows that a young adults brain is not fully developed until in their
20's. This means by serving them alcohol you are making greater their chances of becoming an alcoholic. Their sense
of right and wrong starts to leave with the first drink.
3. A parent should
never take another parent's parenting away by feeding their child a poison like alcohol.
4. And I can almost guarantee that these parents know nothing about how the new culture of binge drinking that has brought
about the exact recipe for Acute Alcohol Poisoning. Or, that they even know any information on AAP and how quickly a
person could be dead at their home.
There should never be a time as a parent or adult when
you feed alcohol to a child or underage young adult.
I have vowed to do whatever I can to
educate teens, young adults, and parents to the dangers of alcohol poisoning. I want all of them to know that immediate
medical intervention can and in most cases does save lives.
It is my deepest desire that
no other families or friends will have to endure the pain of loss that we experience every day of our lives.
So, Shelby's Rules were born, which are:
Alcohol + vomiting = 911 (of course, most persons vomiting do not die but it is awarning sign,
vomiting is usually your 1st danger sign, your body is telling you something
is wrong. But, vomiting will not clear your body of alcohol - it is absorbed too quickly.
Semi or unconscious can't be slept off.
If you can't wake up the person,
you must get help. Do not take the chance they may not wake up.
"A lot of
people think that if someone is passed out, it's not cause for concern," "Too many people think it's normal."
Passing out is a sign of alcohol poisoning, You should never leave such a person alone to "sleep
it off." If you can't wake them up, you need to get them immediate medical help.
THE BLACK OUT DEMONSTRATION, HOW A BLACKOUT IS AN ALCOHOL OVERDOSE, CLOSE TO DEATH )
asking you to help each other. If you find yourself in a situation where someone may have alcohol poisoning, please
get them help. Its better to be safe, than to know you could have saved someone and didn't. Even if it is a false
alarm, medical personal would rather have a person saved.
YOU KNOW, Shelby's friends didn't
know she was going to die that night. But she did. And now you know her story.
Friends don't let friends drink and drive, and they don't let them die of alcohol poisoning either.
Please visit our web site that is on the card we passed
I would be happy to answer any questions.