Know When to Get Help

Posted in:
Tweens / Teens
Poison Safety & Prevention

Carson’s Story

news-carson012313On December 2, 2008, Carson Starkey of Austin, TX, died of alcohol poisoning following a fraternity hazing ritual at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Carson was 18 years old, finishing his first semester of college. Carson was instructed to split a fifth of rum with another pledge, drink two 24-ounce Steel Reserve cans and a can of Sparks, while a bottle of Everclear was passed around. He lost consciousness, showing multiple signs of alcohol poisoning, but his fraternity brothers didn’t attempt to seek help for fear of getting in trouble.

Ultimately, Carson’s blood alcohol content at the time of death was between .39% and .447% — over four times the legal limit for driving in Texas and California.

One call could have saved his life.

The 911 Lifeline Law was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011. That law says a person under 21 won’t be charged by the police for possessing or consuming alcohol if the person calls 911 because someone might have alcohol poisoning.

This limited immunity applies only to the first person to call for medical assistance, only if the caller remains on the scene until medical assistance arrives and cooperates with EMS and law enforcement.

This law was intended to encourage young people to do the right thing and save a life.

To learn more about Carson’s story, visit

The Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

  • Mental confusion
  • Unresponsive
  • Seizures / Stupor
  • Throwing up
  • Hypothermia – low body temp, cold / clammy skin
  • Erratic or slow breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pale or bluish skin color

We all have a responsibility:

  • Know the danger signals.
  • Do not wait for all symptoms.
  • Be aware that a person who has passed out may die.
  • Call 911 and stay with the person.

Mistakes happen…Don’t be afraid to call 911!

Don’t leave an unconscious person alone!

Just remember, the Texas Poison Center Network is always available to answer any question you might have about any poisoning. The national hotline number, 1-800-222-1222, is available 24 hours a day.