It was the motivation behind an appearance by Ruthie Alcaide, known simply as "Ruthie" on MTV's The Real World Hawaii, before an audience of about 300 college students. She cautioned them about the dangers of alcohol during an appearance at Augusta State University on Thursday night.
Ms. Alcaide demonstrated her message of awareness to the audience by playing clips from the television show, including an episode in which she drank to excess, became ill from alcohol poisoning and was transported to the hospital.
"Watching it for the first time was so, so hard for me," said Ms. Alcaide, a native of Hawaii. "The last thing I remember was having a shot at the bar, and the next thing you know I was in the hospital."
The deadly combination of impairment in decision-making and motor skills while driving was another danger Ms. Alcaide stressed to the audience.
"That's the biggest problem with drinking, is that you don't care, you're invincible, all of these things that happen to other people happen to other people. They die; they're the ones that drink and drive and crash. When you're drinking, you don't even care; everything you do is of no consequence, at that time, until something happens" said Ms. Alcaide, who entered a treatment clinic after the experience and no longer drinks.
Ms. Alcaide said most crimes such as sexual assault and date rape occur when people are under the influence of alcohol, and she stressed to the audience that they need to be aware.
"Your friends can look out for you (and) you can look out for your friends, but ultimately we've really got to look out for ourselves," she said.
As her voice filled with emotion, she added, "I want you to have an awesome college experience, and I don't want something horrible to happen to you guys, because I care."
Reach Nathan Dickinson at (706) 828-3904 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statistics from the Annual Review of Public Health state that in 2005 more than 1,700 college students were killed because of alcohol-related injuries, 599,000 students were unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol, and more than 97,000 students were the victims of alcohol-related sexual assault.
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