We have all likely experienced peer pressure. Assuming you the reader are an adult, go ahead and think back to how much peer pressure there was in grade school. It begins early and continues all through high school. Regardless of your social status back then, you surely remember how perhaps the strongest form of high school peer pressure is the desire to fit in. Kids are willing to do just about anything to be popular.
Chase Owen, a 13-year-old boy from England, nearly died for a chance to be popular.
Just last month, on May 11th, Jo Owen found her son Chase sprawled out in their garden and knew immediately something was wrong. It turns out he had alcohol poisoning from having been taking shots at school over the course of three days.
The popular boys in Chase’s class were bringing soda bottles full of vodka to school. Attempting to impress them, likely in hopes of raising his own popularity, Chase was “downing vodka shots at school for three days,” as reported by Devonlive.
A Near Death Experience
It’s honestly a miracle Chase went three days. When his mother Jo found him, his blood alcohol content was two and a half times the legal limit to drive. This means Chase’s bloodstream was at least 0.2% alcohol – a level that could easily kill a full grown man.
Upon bringing him to the hospital, “…paramedics thought Chase might have meningitis, a possible stroke, or the effects of a bad migraine,” according to Yahoo Australia. Then a toxicity report showed the immense amount of alcohol Chase had in his system.
It turns out that Chase is going to be okay. That is the top story. However, a close second is the reaction Jo Owen had afterward. She decided to post photographs of Chase in the hospital and use his experience as a tool for educating other parents on the very real dangers of both peer pressure and underage drinking.
The Facebook Post
Jo Owen’s post was not restrained. She published photos of Chase in the hospital with gear attached to him in order to save his life. This picture in particular went viral, and received the attention of people around the country:
Along with photos, Jo Owen wrote the following:
“Finding Chase collapsed in my front garden yesterday after school I instantly knew something wasn’t right. According to him he was just tired. We have now found out from investigations at the school, that over the course of three days Chase had been downing shots of vodka that the ‘popular’ boys were bringing into school in Coke bottles. He was trying to impress these boys to fit in with them! And in turn almost died!
“We need to educate our teens that it is okay not to fit in, be different & have our own identities. We don’t need to impress anyone, be yourself and you will find the right friends, not the most popular ones. You do not need to be in the popular group at school to be successful once you are no longer in school.”
Up to 75% of those aged 12-17 have at least tried alcohol. Chase got lucky. Not all kids do. Please, if you are the parent of a child who is experimenting with alcohol or drugs, or if you know someone who is, reach out today. We have help standing by.