The death of Tim Piazza at Penn State has weighed heavily on us here at the Gordie Center. We have been following the story since the first mention of his death in February, when we immediately reached out to our colleagues at Penn State to offer our support, as well as Tim's family to offer our condolences. His story felt so familiar to us--a bright, young college kid looking for friendship through a fraternity, overdosing on alcohol during a hazing event...just like Gordie almost 13 years ago. We are heartbroken to see history repeat itself--which it does, on a regular basis, in the form of alcohol overdose and hazing-related deaths nationwide. Not all of those deaths receive the attention that Tim's has, but all of them represent the completely preventable loss of someone's child, someone's sibling, someone's friend. Enough has long been enough, and it's sad that
highlights again the rampant lack of education about alcohol overdose symptoms (PUBS), how to help a friend in trouble, and the horrors of hazing. Our message at the Gordie Center is so simple: Save a Life. Make the Call. When you see someone in distress, do not hesitate to call for help. Gordie and Tim would be alive today had someone called for help.
As someone who supports the Gordie Center's work, you may be asking how you can partner with us to help prevent more tragedies like Tim's and Gordie's. We strive to educate students and parents on the danger of alcohol overdose and hazing through our evidence-informed, student-tested products, and you can help us spread the word. Here are a few simple actions that you can take to share Gordie's lifesaving message:
- Talk to the young people in your life about the dangers of alcohol overdose and hazing. Tell them Gordie's story, educate them on the PUBS signs of alcohol overdose and how to help a friend in distress, and encourage them to sign our Pledge to Check.
- Find out if your state has medical amnesty laws, which can protect those who call for medical assistance from legal prosecution. Schools may also have their own policies on medical amnesty: learn about your school's policy and educate your peers.
- Contact your local high school to encourage them to use our documentary film, HAZE, to educate their students about alcohol overdose and hazing before they head to college. The film comes with a facilitator guide to help lead discussion after a screening. Gordie Center staff members are also available to present the film and facilitate a discussion.
- Contact your alma mater about HAZE and our other educational products (GORDIEcheck BAC cards, student-athlete BAC cards, PUBS mirror clings, PUBS magnets, posters, koozies, and a free printable brochure on safer drinking guidelines), and encourage the institution to educate their students on Gordie's story through our materials.
- Consider donating a copy of HAZE or our other educational products to your local or alma mater high school, college, university, or even your local library or community center. You can donate a copy of HAZE through our online donation page, and give us a call at (434) 982-0703 or email us to discuss donations of other products.
- Donate to the Gordie Center to help us improve our national outreach. Education and awareness around alcohol overdose and hazing can save lives. Help us reach a larger audience by supporting our Gordie's Call national campaign initiatives.
The Gordie Center is here, and we are listening--let's work even harder to prevent alcohol overdose and hazing tragedies, together. #RememberGordie
Thank you for your support,
Director, Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
National Development & Program Coordinator