Tragedies occur every day as a result of alcohol. Here is one such story. This is the story of a normal girl, who had a family who cherished her and friends who adored her. She did not drink and did not get in trouble. Have a box of tissues handy because this is very sad.
It all started after 10 pm on a Friday night. Amber Rice's class ended at 10PM and she was eager to meet her boyfriend for a late dinner.
She drove her Ford pickup to her apartment about three miles from The Art Institute of Tennessee near Nashville, where she was a graphic design student.
Rice graduated from Crockett County High School three months earlier and had completed seven weeks of college on that Friday, Aug. 27, 2010.
By noon the next day, she lay dead on the floor of her bedroom. She was 18.
Cause of death: Acute ethanol toxicity, more commonly known as alcohol poisoning.
Her blood alcohol level was 0.5 percent, more than six times the 0.08 percent level state law designates as being legally impaired. Rice died after she drank shots of 190-proof Everclear, a liquor that is 95 percent alcohol.
She became one of about 79,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States.
The news shocked family and friends, who said Rice did not drink in high school.
Her boyfriend, Kevin Holland, was distraught because he had to work late and missed their date. Otherwise, he believes, Rice would still be alive.
Within 75 minutes, Rice drank at least six shots of Everclear and one shot of Jack Daniel's whiskey, according to the 19-year-old man who provided the liquor. That's equivalent to consuming the alcoholic content in about 16, 12-ounce beers.
Rice passed out about midnight, and the alcohol slowly shut down her central nervous system. At that level you stop breathing, your heart stops pumping. There is cardiovascular failure. Rice died alone sometime between 6 a.m. and noon the next day.
Rice made solid grades in high school, scored a 28 on the ACT exam and had numerous friends through band, auto shop and her days in Girl Scouts.
If you needed a piece of gum or candy, her purse was a dependable source. If your spirit needed a lift, she was always ready with a funny face or outlandish story.
She loved playing her flute, and liked listening to different kinds of music — rap, country, rock and roll.
Rice loved her dog, a gentle mix of beagle and Labrador retriever. She named him Dip Stick.
Rice could leap off her canopy bed, land on the floor and sing songs from "High School Musical" on her Karaoke machine. And she knew a thing or two about cake fights.
Again, these tragedies happen every day. This could have been avoided on so many levels, yet it happened and will continue to happen until people are made aware of the toxicity of alcohol.