Student-made video warns about underage drinking

LOWER MERION TWP., PA. - July 17, 2012

The video is serving as a public service announcement to spread the word among teens and their parents about the Good Samaritan Law that was passed in Pennsylvania last fall.

The law gives immunity to one underage drinker who calls 911 to help someone in need of medical attention for alcohol abuse or poisoning.

The students represent eight Main Line high schools, all members of the Youth Advisory Council.

Lower Merion High School senior Haydn Hornstein-Platt worked with a team of students to come up with ideas for the awareness campaign.

"We designed it to figure out how much teens know about the signs of alcohol poisoning," Haydn told Action News. "We found that a really upsetting number of people don't know the signs. I myself didn't know all the signs."

Nausea and vomiting are almost always the first symptoms of alcohol poisoning, along with an inability to stay alert and incoherent speech.

Robbie Warshaw, the scriptwriter for the video, said you should also never leave a friend who's been drinking excessively, asleep.

"Make sure they can be aroused," said Robbie. "And make sure their face isn't flushed, and make sure they are not sweating profusely."

When the Good Samaritan Law was passed last year, social worker and production coordinator Paula Singer saw an opportunity.

"We felt that it would be great to have a barrier removed to help kids get help for their peers," she said.

Playing the role of the Good Samaritan in the video, Lower Merion student Albert Harris III recognized how tough it is to be in that situation.

"A lot of people are usually scared to call whenever someone's drunk," he said, "and they don't want to be caught doing something wrong."

Will Keith, a junior at Friends Central, portrays an alcohol-poisoned teen in the video.

"I've seen friends, and it's really nerve-wracking and scary because you don't know what to do," he said.

"Kids speaking to kids on the same level is really what becomes very powerful about this," said Will's mom, Beverly.

It IS a powerful video, it's received praise from a number of professionals, including one local doctor who has requested a copy of the video to show in her waiting room.

See the video here

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