During one of my few weekends this summer, I chose to attend a friend’s birthday party. As is the trend for most college parties, drinking was the preferred past time. That being said, one of the attendants, John Doe, took it upon himself to drink half a bottle of Vodka in 30 minutes. As can be expected, he had the courtesy to promptly black out.
To this healthy display of alcohol abuse, his friends reacted in one of three ways. Some sat back and said, “well it’s his own fault and he’ll have to suffer the consequences,” while others chose to surround him like vultures circling the soon-to-be deceased. The rest, not overly concerned (and myself amongst them), opted to continue to enjoy the evening. It would be a vast understatement that no one responded in an ideal fashion.
It was all John’s ‘fault’ and he would suffer all of the ‘consequences,’ but for the fact that this event took place on someone else’s property. Clearly, John would suffer the immediate consequences that could have ranged from a hangover to death. However, should he have needed a hospitalization or trip to the morgue, the police would have a few questions for the homeowners. These would be questions not easily answered, as John was well under 21. The simple fact is that irresponsible drinking is never a victimless crime. Additionally, bystanders cannot observe it as such.
Those who chose to smother John Doe did their best to help him through the rough patch. Their surrounding him more closely resembled attendants at a wake than a group of people effectively feigning off alcohol poisoning. This sort of poor response to alcohol poisoning is the primary reason every dorm room door is decorated with a helpful ‘what to do if you suffer from alcohol poisoning’ pamphlet. They serve little function other than instructing people how to handle this sort of situation.
The most disgraceful reaction to John’s blackout was of course the inaction preformed by most of us. Rather than actually rushing him to a hospital, which would have been a good idea, we talked about it. The discussion ranged from the obvious questions of legal responsibility and who could actually drive. Despite all the talk, no words were put to action except for waiting the night out and hoping for the best. Thankfully, the best occurred and John survived the night without so much as a hangover.
It is usually a good idea to commit yourself to acting in such a way that injures no one, including yourself. As far as alcohol is concerned, drinking is a frivolity, no more necessary than the next leisurely activity. So to universally condemn drinking would be to condemn anything that has negative consequences. If you find yourself wanting to drink, be sure you do it so as to enhance your life, not hinder it. Or, if you have a medical condition that requires you to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol, do so such that no else is put at risk by your idiocy.