Published: Nov 03, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Nov 03, 2012 10:24 AM
Yet another tragic loss of a promising young life. Its reported that alcohol was a likely cause of this death.
David Shannon was a 2012 graduate of Charlottes Myers Park High School; he made the University of North Carolina his college of choice and called Chapel Hill his home.
He was a freshman at UNC at the time of his death. By all accounts of those who knew him best, he was bright, athletic, accomplished, a people person. Some described him as the type you sought out as a friend. He was also a church youth leader at Carmel Road Baptist Church in Matthews.
In other words, he had it all, but forfeited his life in a moment of youthful excessive alcohol abuse.
Accounts of his last hours of life note that he began drinking on Friday night with friends at a residence, and continued his consumption into the morning hours. Alcohol, an addictive drug, may appreciably impair the physical and mental faculties of the user, particularly when accompanied by excessive consumption.
Alcohol kills more teens than all other drugs combined, but too many older adults are sadly complacent about teen use.
Because of this national underage drinking public health epidemic, in 2007, then U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu issued a National Call to Action to Prevent Underage Drinking. A Call to Action is within the legislated authority of the Surgeon General when medical and health science conclusively identify a genuine public health threat. Its intended to mobilize every sector of society to combat that threat.
At the time, Moritsugu said simply, We can no longer ignore what alcohol is doing to our children.
During the last moments of his life, Shannon allegedly entered the property of a concrete company. Once there, for whatever reason, he chose to climb upon company machinery. He fell to his death. He died alone. Friends searching for him later located his lifeless body.
While progress has been made in reducing dangerous excessive drinking among 18- to 24-year old non-students, the same cannot be said about 18- to 24- year old collegians. Instead, with alcohol-related deaths, poisonings and serious injury among collegians at record levels, dangerous drinking among them is worsening.
Harvard Universitys College Alcohol Study concludes dangerous and unhealthy drinking among this age demographic is uniquely a problem of collegiate culture. Even so, few colleges or universities have acted to implement national goals set for them to reduce this harm. For those who have, progress has been made.
Well never know what David Shannon might have become. But one thing seems certain he didnt come to Chapel Hill to sacrifice his life or his classmates to use this addictive drug.
Chapel Hill has long had a serious problem with the unsafe and unlawful excessive alcohol consumption among underage drinkers. The time has come for the university and the town to unite forces in a mutual collaboration to reduce dangerous and high-risk drinking among collegians here. Success can only be found in their mutual united effort. But if not now, when?
Before another student is lost, we can no longer ignore what alcohol is doing to our children.
Ronald E. Bogle is a retired Superior Court judge.