(Zionsville, IN, May 16, 2023) – Rachael’s First Week LIVE! Program has reached tens of thousands of Indiana high school and college students, educating them on enhanced decision-making as well as life-saving skills to help ensure a safe transition from adolescence to adulthood. This coming August will mark 10 years since the Fiege family lost their beloved daughter, Rachael, to a tragic head injury in her first week of college. Following her death, Dr. Angi Fiege developed this program to better prepare college freshmen for the difficult new situations they may face in college, to educate them on what to do in emergency situations, and to embrace the importance of ‘always looking out for each other’. In the ever-changing environment of social media trends, combined with the high-risk behaviors of this population, Rachael’s First Week LIVE! Program works hard to keep ahead of the trends and provide relevant information, advice, and practical skills to ensure the safety of our teens and young adults.
“We feel that the information we provide to students on both safety and awareness is vital to preventing future incidents,” stated Dr. Fiege. “We re-evaluate our program every year and adjust to the dangerous trends that are affecting young adults. This year was no different. We saw the Tik-Tok trend of BORGs along with Fentanyl overdoses, as two new major threats to our youth.”
The BORG (black out rage gallon) has become an emerging trend across college campuses this past year. “It involved using an empty gallon jug, filling it with water, vodka, and a caffeinated flavor enhancer along with an electrolyte of some type,” states Dr. Fiege. “The idea is that it will prevent a hangover, which it doesn’t. It also promotes binge-drinking, consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, potentially leading to alcohol poisoning.”
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol poisoning is a serious and sometimes deadly consequence of excessive drinking. A November 2022 article put out by the U. S. News & World Report states that “alcohol is to blame for 1 in 5 young adult deaths in the U.S.”1 JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association,reports excessive alcohol use accounted for more than 140,000 deaths per year.”2
Fentanyl usage, another dangerous trend amongst young adults. Data from the CDC shows overall drug overdoses increased for young adults aged 18-24 from 2015-2019, with overdoses involving synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, being the driving factor in this increase.
“Fentanyl has become a national healthcare epidemic. Statistically, Fentanyl overdoses are a significant cause of death among Americans 18-45. It is 100 times more potent than morphine which has driven the proliferation of Fentanyl laced drugs in the community. Illegally made fentanyl is cheap to produce and as a consequence, drug dealers are able to use smaller amounts to create stockpiles that are sold as either street drugs or adulterated, counterfeit versions of prescription medications,” states Dr. Fiege. “Emergency Departments and ICUs now are seeing record numbers of teens and young adults who have unwittingly fallen victim to fentanyl overdoses and tragically, often before rescue medications can be given.”
Rachael’s First Week LIVE! addresses the ever-changing challenges facing young adults as they move from the protective environment provided by parents and communities to independence and adulthood. Rachael’s First Week gives practical advice to help develop better life skills while challenging the audience to think about the choices they make and to always look out for each other. “We know that individuals in this age group often find themselves in novel situations and turn to equally unprepared peers for solutions. We strive to help our attendees develop sound problem solving skills in a non-judgmental manner that acknowledges their desire to exert their independence, while also providing them a safety net to turn to for evidence-based solutions,” stated Dr. Fiege.
To learn more about Rachael’s First Week organization and program visit our website at www.rachaelsfirstweek.org, follow us on social media; Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or listen to our SafeTEA podcast.
RachaelsFirstWeek.org Rachael’s First Week educational programs were developed through the vision of Angi Fiege, MD, an Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Physician following the death of her daughter, Rachael Fiege, who at the time was an incoming freshman at Indiana University. Priority topics include the Indiana LifeLine Law, alcohol and drugs use, mental health and depression and sexual assault. Rachael’s First Week programming targets behaviors well known to contribute to the morbidity and mortality of this vulnerable subpopulation and offers evidenced-based solutions in a nonjudgmental manner.