Sam had been party hopping on the night of a big football game at Colorado State University. Patty says Sam shared several bottles of vanilla-flavored vodka with other students after drinking beer and a few other shots throughout the night. Sam drank so much that she couldn't walk, and she was placed in a room at the fraternity house she was visiting, fell asleep, then fell into a coma and died of alcohol poisoning.
Patty says the college drinking culture has changed in recent years, with binge drinking on weekends becoming the norm and the increase in the availability of sweet-flavored liquors that don't taste like alcohol. Hundreds of young people die of alcohol poisoning every year, Patty says, but most kids and parents aren't aware of the facts. "Following Sam's death, we had several parents come to us and tell us they had not discussed alcohol poisoning with their children, some actually admitted they didn't know you could die from drinking too much," Patty says.
As news of Sam's death hit the media, Barry took notice and saw a reason to produce an educational film for kids on Sam's story. "You can easily slip into this party scene and one night of excessive partying could cost you your life," Barry says. Today, Patty and her husband, Rick, travel around the country to educate kids on alcohol poisoning through the Sam Spady Foundation and to promote Barry's film Death by Alcohol: The Sam Spady Story. "When it actually happens to you, it is truly like all the life is sucked out of your body when you get horrible news like that," Patty says.
Warning signs of alcohol poisoning that Patty says parents and kids need to know:
- Shallow breathing eight to 10 times a minute
- Skin turns cold, clammy and blue
- Cannot be awakened by pinching or shouting