The other week, we were contacted by an NYU freshman currently living in residence. This student expressed their concern regarding the overwhelming number peers being carted off to the hospital each weekend for drinking excessively. We contacted Philip Lentz, the university’s Director of Public Affairs, who informed us that students who are taken to hospital as a result of drinking are required to attend a clinical intervention with a trained counsellor as well as participate in an alcohol education workshop. Though it is clear that the university is taking the necessary steps to mitigate this issue, perhaps there are some steps the students can take as well… And thus, an open letter from a student to their peers:

Friends don’t let friends go to the hospital.

NYU class of 2017:

Stop getting so drunk you get sick, and stop sending your friends to the hospital.

This past weekend alone, several kids from my dorm were sent to the ER due to “alcohol poisoning.” At one point I actually watched one girl walk herself into the ambulance, barely supported by a couple of EMTs. She was so not-alcohol-poisoned she was capable of walking and holding her own puke bag, yet she still went to the hospital.

It’s really clear to me that not only do the kids here have really bad drinking skills, they also have no idea what alcohol poisoning looks like. Once someone starts throwing up, their friends usually freak out and either ditch them or call 911. I arrived home to the same scene every night last weekend; flashing red and blue lights and a crowd of kids surrounding someone being loaded into a stretcher. This one chick who was taken out in a stretcher nearly made it inside the dorms… I saw her look for her student ID, and then a wave of nausea must’ve passed over her, cause she slumped onto the counter and started moaning. A friend nearby was urging her to get it together. Unfortunately, she started puking and NYU security had to call an ambulance. If her friend had just waited out the spins with her (which they easily could’ve done across the street in the park) she would’ve been spared hundreds of dollars and all of the trauma that comes with getting your stomach pumped and waking up in a hospital bed.

One clear indication that the kids here have subpar street smarts about alcohol is the disturbing popularity of 4LOKO in my dorm. This is because it’s cheap and effective. Some of my friends actually drink it. I say “actually” because for most people, 4LOKO is something you stole from gas stations in 9th grade and never drank ever, ever again because nothing good ever comes from it. They’re actually so ratchet that they were banned from several states – most now only sell the decaffeinated version. When people walk into my room and see the empty cans, most of them ask what the hell I’m doing drinking 4LOKO. And all I can say is that I think some of my friends were so sheltered that they didn’t develop any negative connotation with that drink.

4LOKOs are almost a guaranteed blackout. I’ve seen a lot of my friends get to the projectile-vomiting level from just half of one. When that kind of thing happens, it’s obviously out of an individual’s hands to take care of themselves, so that responsibility goes to the people they went out with. And way too many people here are not taking that responsibility. They’re letting their friends get WAY too drunk, they’re calling ambulances because they don’t know how to take care of them, and in some cases people are ditching their friends entirely. My guy friend had to drag a girl out of a cab that had arrived at our dorm even though he had no idea who she was – no one did. We could only assume she lived here because that’s where the cab driver was told to go. Do these kids even know what the good samaritan law is?

If you drink, do it with people who you trust. If you let a friend get too fucked up, it’s just going to be your responsibility later. Don’t be a shitty friend and send them home alone, and don’t call an ambulance the second someone throws up or cries. Rub their back and think about what you would want if you were in their shoes. Learn how to recognize and avoid alcohol poisoning, and consider your parents. Many of us live thousands of miles away from our families now, and the thought of your kid ending up in the hospital because of an alcohol binge would take a huge toll on any parent’s heart. These things can be easily avoided.

We live in New York City. If you drink, chances are that’s going to be a regular thing for the rest of your life. Each semester the university has us do one of those mundane “alcohol EDU” courses online, but drinking here is about being street smart, not booksmart. Don’t be one of the kids who ends up in an ambulance at the end of the night, and don’t let your friends be that kid either. Because both of those outcomes are your responsibility.


Fed Up Freshman.