By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers
State Attorney General Patricia Madrid is traveling around the state in an effort to combat binge and underage drinking.
Madrid will speak to Eastern New Mexico University students, faculty and community members from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Faculty Lounge in the Campus Union Building on the ENMU campus.
The program is an attempt to educate students about the dangers of underage drinking and encourage parents to be positive role models for their children. Madrid will also be speaking this week at New Mexico Highlands University, Espanola High School, Albuquerque High School and New Mexico State University.
Madrid’s public relations officer, Sam Thompson, said underage drinking and binge drinking are two problems Madrid is addressing as the chair of the Conference of Western Attorney Generals. The conference is a group comprised of legal officers of 15 western states.
“It’s important to highlight the dangers associated with youth abuse of alcohol,” Madrid said in a press release. “We see on college campuses the tragedy that can follow binge drinking, namely death from alcohol poisoning. My tour will send a message to New Mexico’s college youth that they are the solution to the problem.”
There have been two deaths at NMSU because of binge drinking within the last six months. Steve Judd, an NMSU junior was pronounced dead on Nov. 19 from alcohol poisoning and Christopher Berry, another NMSU student, died March 11 from alcohol poisoning, according to Associated Press reports.
Highlighting the dangers is something Ellen Mobley, registered nurse of the ENMU Student Health Services, said health officials try to convey to ENMU students.
“A lot of college students only worry about the here and now,” Mobley said. “They don’t realize the long-term effects. We try to make them realize the dangers.”
Mobley emphasizes the program is not only for ENMU faculty, staff and students, but also for community members. In an effort to bring students to the program Mobley said a mass e-mail was sent out to the campus. She said there are some students who are required to attend for their class and others who can earn extra credit by attending.
Students can participate in the program, including interactive demonstrations of the blood-alcohol educator program, fatal-vision goggles (goggles designed to simulate blurred vision due to drinking) and safety information booths.