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Aware Awake Alive peer-to-peer program

The California State University system, Largest in the Nation, announces All 23 Campuses to Use ‘Aware Awake Alive’ Program Nonprofit created in memory of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo student becomes a critical part of the toolbox of services to reduce alcohol poisoning deaths

LONG BEACH, California—California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White committed to rolling out the free Aware Awake Alive peer-to-peer program to all 23 campuses as a critical tool for identifying and acting on the symptoms of alcohol poisoning. The chancellor also committed that the CSU would translate the program materials into Spanish and that student leaders would receive training in the program from the team at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. CSU, the largest university system in the nation, serves 437,000 students.

These commitments were made during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on July 23, 2013, as the chancellor and trustees reviewed the sixth biennial report on Campus Alcohol Education and Prevention Programs.

The board, students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the public heard from Scott and Julia Starkey, the parents of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo freshman Carson Starkey who died of alcohol poisoning in 2008 at 18 years old. His parents co-founded the Aware Awake Alive nonprofit to ensure the prevention of needless alcohol-related tragedy becomes a lasting legacy of their son.

“You said Carson’s life ended and his legacy began, but it's also now your legacy,” said CSU Chancellor White to Scott and Julia Starkey. “Perhaps our action will be one more step toward making his death and all it represents to so many other families a little bit less painful.”

The commitment by Chancellor White will go a long way in Aware Awake Alive’s mission, which faces barriers of fundraising, access to young people, and more campuses to save countless more lives from this preventable end.

Empowering Students to Make the Call
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three college students binge drink. A 2005 study from Dr. Ralph Hingson of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) projects that a college student (age 18 to 24) dies every 44 hours from alcohol poisoning in the United States.

The Aware Awake Alive program is already empowering CSU students on eight campuses – San Luis Obispo, Chico, Fresno, Long Beach, Northridge, San Bernardino, San Diego and San José – to make the right call when faced with an alcohol poisoning medical emergency. The CSU is preparing to incorporate the program into its alcohol awareness and education efforts in the 2013-14 school year.

The results of the 2013 national student health and wellness study, Healthy Minds, reported that 43.36% of Cal Poly students that responded to the survey intervened when they encountered someone who was drinking too much, compared with a national average of 33.73%. Aware Awake Alive has been part of the Cal Poly alcohol awareness program for 2 years.

Aware Awake Alive communicates to high school and college students directly with messages like “Drunk or dying? You make the call” that are simple, actionable and non-judgmental. Web-based tools are designed to be intuitive and simple to use for young people and those who influence them, like parents and teachers.

Free resources are available via and the program engages youth through social media. When confronted with real-life situations, provides a 3-click decision tree for peers with web-enabled phones to help identify alcohol poisoning symptoms and take proper action.

A voice for a silent epidemic
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Aware Awake Alive strives to equip youth with the tools and confidence needed to prevent loss of life from alcohol poisoning¬. Working with medical amnesty states like California, awareness is paramount for saving lives. Medical amnesty policies encourage people to call police when trouble arises without fear of prosecution or punishment from law enforcement officials. Under policies like these, emergency calls for acute alcohol poisoning have increased ultimately saving lives.

As stated by Students for Sensible Drug Policy, “Fear of police involvement is the most common reason for not calling 911 during an overdose.” They also cite that students who are aware that a medical amnesty policy is in effect are 2.5 times more likely to call authorities than students who expect to face discipline.

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 437,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. The CSU awards about 96,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.8 million. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever- changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media. Show how the CSU matters to you and take action.

About Aware Awake Alive
The Austin, Texas-based, nationally focused organization prevents loss of life to alcohol poisoning by educating teens, young adults and parents on the dangers and symptoms of alcohol overdose by generating awareness and dialog around openness and amnesty-based policy. Through a national awareness campaign, on-campus collaboration empowering students with powerful resources, and advocacy on a state-by state-level, the organization is working daily to dispel the myths of alcohol poisoning. After the death of Carson in 2008, the Starkey family formed the nonprofit that became “Aware Awake Alive”.

In 2009, the organization worked with Texas Senator Kirk Watson to secure the Carson Starkey Alcohol Awareness and Education Act. This legislation permanently places alcohol education in the curriculum of all Texas public schools. In 2011, Aware Awake Alive and Senator Watson created the Texas 911 Lifeline Law. This state law offers limited immunity to minors who do the right thing and seek help in an alcohol related emergency.
Aware Awake Alive works closely with high schools and universities implementing the Aware Awake Alive Toolbox program on campuses across the country. The organization actively coordinates with administrators and students to help customize a unique program specific to each campus, while continuing to support their local communities of Austin, Texas and San Luis Obispo, California by providing educational scholarships.

Learn more and get involved at


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