Erica Buschick, 18, was discovered dead in her dorm room at Morris Hall on campus at Miami University after a night of what university police have described as “high-risk alcohol consumption.”
According to the Miami Student, an incident report released last week by the Miami University Police Department revealed that the 18-year-old had consumed large quantities of champagne and vodka, had taken multiple falls, and had to be escorted back to her room because she was unsteady on her feet.
Buschick, a native of Gurnee, Illinois, returned to campus on January 19 after winter break. According to the incident report, by 10:00 P.M. she and her roommate Reilley Graves began drinking alcohol, finishing two bottles of champagne between the two of them.
Via Miami Student:
Graves needed help getting Buschick into the dorm, Graves said, so she and Jason Colwell (taxi driver) held Buschick’s arms and walked her to their room on the second floor of the building. Once they entered their room, Colwell said, he propped up Buschick against her bed. Graves paid Colwell the fare for the taxi ride as well as extra money for helping her.
Colwell told MUPD that he was concerned Buschick would fall and hit her head, so he laid her down on her left side on a bean bag chair on their floor. Colwell told Graves to keep an eye on Buschick.
Graves said that she woke up at approximately 3:00 A.M. and noticed Buschick was still on the bean bag before falling back asleep. When Graves woke up the next morning, she saw that Buschick had not moved and called 911 for help.
MUPD officers were dispatched to Morris Hall at 8:57 A.M. Oxford Life Squad arrived at 9:01 A.M., and the Butler County Coroner was notified of the incident at 9:06 A.M.
Miami University President Gregory Crawford emailed the Miami community Thursday morning about the death of first-year Erica Buschick, suggesting that high-risk alcohol consumption was the cause of her passing.
While the university’s immediate concern was providing support for Buschick’s friends and family, Crawford will be working with the university’s senior leadership to “undertake a holistic assessment” of their efforts to prevent high-risk alcohol consumption by students.
“High-risk alcohol consumption among college students is of concern to every university president and I am determined and committed to doing all that we can to help ensure the well-being of all of our students,” Crawford wrote.
Clayton Neighbors, a professor at the University of Houston, has been studying excessive drinking among college populations for 20 years.According to the Chicago Tribune, he said many college students “don’t understand how much they’re drinking or what the consequences are for getting their blood-alcohol concentrations (BACs) up beyond a reasonable point, and how easy it is to do that, depending on what you’re drinking.”
Neighbors said “pregaming” carries “really heavy risk,” especially if students drink hard liquor rather than beer. And gender plays a role, as well, he said.
“Women who don’t weigh very much, their BACs can ramp up in a short amount of time,” Neighbors said. “More than men, because their body concentration is different. So they would get higher BACs, even if they’re the same weight as guys.”
Neighbors said the average 18-year-old female weighing between 125 and 130 pounds would reach an estimated BAC of .39, which would be potentially fatal, by drinking 12 standard drinks in three hours. That would be 18 ounces of 80-proof vodka or about half of a 750-milliliter bottle.