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Film Viewing of Haze

As a senior about to graduate and in a few months head off to college, of course I had questions about the drinking culture of undergrads. That’s why I was so excited about the opportunity to watch the documentary HAZE at an event sponsored by Arlington’s READY Coalition, which promotes and works for the reduction alcohol and drug use among Arlington teens. Going in to the movie viewing, I was not sure what to expect. Of course I had gotten drinking talks from my parents, but as teens we can all admit sometimes those conversations go in one ear and out the other.  I had also learned about the dangers of alcohol in health class, and seen the videos about drinking and driving in drivers ed., which feature parents of teens who have died in accidents. Knowing nothing about it, I wasn’t sure if HAZE was going to teach me anything I didn’t already know. I was very wrong.

HAZE changed my entire perspective on college drinking, and the dangers of alcohol. The first thing that really impacted me was the science of it all.  The movie looks into the extreme detrimental effects binge drinking has on the brain, and proved that underage drinking can cause lifelong harm that you may not realize until you are much older. This can affect all aspects of your life, including your education, your job, and your relationships.  The movie featured many doctors who spoke about the effects on the specific parts of a person’s body, and I was able to see how drinking hurts a person in ways I could not even imagine. There were also various statistics that were truly horrifying, including the amount of girls who are raped during college (a shocking ¼), and how many of those incidents involve alcohol (around 80%). The next thing that impacted me were the scenes HAZE had that took place on college campuses during weekend (or sometimes even week) nights.  Girls were laying lifeless in yards, boys were bloody and bruised after falling over drunkenly or getting in fights, and all over the place there were drunk college kids acting so insane that it was truly disturbing. I had no idea how out of control people could get, and was shocked by the behavior of people just one or two years older than me.  Finally, what impacted me most of all was the story of a boy named Gordy who was featured in the movie, who died after just a month at the University of Colorado at Boulder of acute alcohol poisoning. Photos from the scene show Gordy laying face down on the floor of a library in his fraternity house, drawn all over and bruised, his face completely blue from lack of oxygen. His friends reported that they had left him laying on a couch, but sometime during the night he had fallen off, and was found face down the next morning completely lifeless. His friends and family were beyond distraught, and the boys in his fraternity were clearly shaken that they had ultimately killed one of their pledges. When Gordy’s mother was talking about how devastating it was to lose a son with so much to offer, you could hear at least two mothers in the room crying, which also had a lasting effect on everyone who watched the movie that night.

One of the main things the documentary wants the viewer to take away is that if you see a friend in bad shape after drinking, you must call emergency services.  Just one call could have saved Gordy’s life. This was something I had never thought about before. Usually you just hear of people putting their friends to bed and letting them “sleep it off” but this can cause severe damage, and as shown in the movie, death.  So, if you ever see a friend in need, take the preventative measures and get them help.

I would recommend every teen and parent watch HAZE, and talk about it after. This is a way to facilitate the drinking conversation in a way that will actually have an effect on both kids and parents. Personally, I also think all health classes should watch the video to educate teens about alcohol use in a way that forces them to pay attention.

Posted: Jun 11, 2014 by Rachel Robertson

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