Bath talks to students about the deadly effects of alcohol
If Catherine Bath had any say in La Salle’s admission process, she would mandate that all incoming freshmen take an online alcohol class to inform themselves of potential dangers from drinking.
Bath, who lost her son, Raheem, to binge drinking seven years ago, sees that as only one step towards changing the way Americans drink.
Bath held a press conference in the Communication Center for Professor Huntly Collins’ journalism class Wednesday, Feb. 21.
She aimed to inform La Salle students about the dangers of binge drinking on college campuses, and also shared the story of how she became executive director of the non-profit organization Security on Campus.
During the conference, Bath first explained how Raheem died after a night of binge drinking from aspiration pneumonia, a condition in which vomit fills the lungs and causes an infection. Bath described her son as “brilliant, handsome and athletic.”
After arriving at the hospital, Bath said her son’s last words to a friend were, “If I make it through this, I’m never touching alcohol again.”
Security on Campus has been active on college campuses nationwide, enabling laws and legislation to protect students from typical campus problems such as rape, murder, theft and binge drinking.
The collection and exposure of statistical crime reports from college administrators to the community and media is a chief goal.
So far, Security on Campus has prompted Congress to enact six major federal laws promoting campus safety, and it has received recognition and awards from organizations around the country.
Bath said her personal goal was to see a “culture change in my lifetime. One thousand seven hundred college students dying each year from alcohol is not OK.”
She said this can be achieved by making it harder to obtain alcohol, through harsher consequences for underage drinkers, and most importantly, through parents.
Bath plans on teaching her grandchildren about alcohol and its dangers, including how it has affected their family. She hopes that this early-education approach will be adopted by the rest of American families.
Beth also discussed the alcohol industry, saying that through billboards, commercials and other advertisements, ad executives “push drugs legally” onto American audiences.
Bath recognized the industry’s influence in shaping the way different demographics, especially young people, think about drinking. However, advertising executives were not her only target.
Bath said she would like to see the media report more in-depth coverage of alcohol-related incidents.
“Although [stories] can be insensitive, they need to be heard,” she said, in response to the idea that such media exposure might seem harsh, given the firstname.lastname@example.org
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