By Owen Lee, Staff Writer
On Monday, October 13, UMass’s Red Watch Band did an instructional training session to instruct students on what to do to in the event of a peer’s alcohol overdose.
The training ran from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and was hosted in Oak Glen Hall of the first floor Multipurpose Room. The aim of the session was to educate students on party first-aid, to hopefully prevent alcohol-related deaths.
The Red Watch Band Alcohol Overdose Prevention Bystander Intervention Training is a student-led training program that is used across the country. The program was created in May 2008 at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. It was founded by Dr. Shirley Kenney and an anonymous woman whose son was tragically lost to alcohol poisoning. Since then, the program has been shared with other schools across the country.
Informational subjects covered in training include medical basics, like how to perform CPR, as well as how to identify the symptoms of alcohol poisoning in other people, the proper procedure to get aid for someone in danger, and proper Blood Alcohol Content.
Red Watch Band wants its participants to know how to take charge in situations where one person is unconscious or dying from alcohol overdose.
At UMass Dartmouth this program is implemented in tandem with Watch Your BAC, a safe-drinking campaign, and Health Services to prevent needless student deaths. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as of June 2017, it is estimated that about 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 died from alcohol-related incidents and overdoses. This program hopes to arm students with knowledge in order to save as many lives as possible.
Cody Pomeroy, a student leader for the Red Watch Band at Stony Brook, spoke of the program in a YouTube video his university made for the program: “I would have to say, especially speaking to my time as an RA, that the overall culture has really changed to one that’s more responsible.”
He later speaks of the effects the program has had on his school. “You know, when I first came in, there was a lot more of that [alcohol related-incidents and overdose], when these things happen, you kind of hope for the best… where now it’s a lot more people taking responsibility to themselves and to their friends to really be that help.”
The event was free, and open to those who registered online prior to the event. Two other sessions have been held this year, one on Tuesday, September 26 and another on Tuesday, October 17.
Participants received a resource guide, a wristband, and a commemorative certificate. Red Watch Band was supposed to have taken place this past Monday, November 13, but unfortunately was cancelled. Look out for future events sponsored by Red Watch Band this semester.