Scary Trends: Sam Spady

Scary Trends: Sam Spady
Dr. Phil has advice for learning to bond with a child you don't like.

Binge drinking has become a deadly, national epidemic. Since last September, in Colorado alone, seven high school and college students have died in alcohol-related incidents. Samantha Spady was one of those students.

 

In high school she was a cheerleader, homecoming queen and class president. Then, as a college sophomore, a night of partying with her friends turned tragic. Sam began drinking beer and tequila at 6 p.m. and over the course of 12 hours, going from party to party, she ended up drinking straight vodka and had the equivalent of 30 to 40 drinks. She became unconscious and lapsed into a coma. Samantha's body was found early the next morning. Her family and friends were devastated by her death.

 

"We've talked to her about the consequences of drinking, but not the dangers," says her dad, Rick. "I don't think she was aware that it can actually kill you if she drank that much."

 

"Samantha was the girl next door. She was anybody's friend," says her mom, Patty. "This can happen to anybody."

"Tell me how you guys are doing," Dr. Phil says to Patty and Rick.

 

"It's been, obviously, a very difficult thing to get through," says Patty. "What we've done since Sam's death is we started a

foundation to try to try to educate not only the kids, but parents on making sure you sit down and talk to your kids about the dangers of alcohol because that's one thing that we regret not doing."

 

Dr. Phil points out that Rick and Patty were loving parents who talked with Sam about many things, including not parking in a dark area, not walking alone on campus, and they even talked about drinking.

 

"We talked about the legal consequences of it," Patty explains. "The one thing we did not discuss with her, partly because she was such a responsible young woman to raise, was that drinking too much can actually kill you," Patty explains.

"What would you say to the parents that you would want to save from this heartache?" Dr. Phil asks.

 

"I'm an expert on grief at this point," Rick says. "It kind of caught us off guard. We had thought that we had talked with her about the social part of if you get involved in the alcohol what might happen to your grades, the activities, the outcomes, the consequences." In retrospect, he would have talked to Sam about the actual physical dangers of drinking too much. "One thing that probably, I think, would have made a difference is if we kept her in more activities," he continues. "Differing activities. She was always in them in high school and I think it kept her out of it. She had something to lose if she got in trouble."

 

Patty and Rick have started the Sam Spady Foundation in Sam's memory. "What we'd like to do is develop a peer-to-peer alcohol awareness education program that can be implemented on college and university campuses. We're working with professionals to get a strategic plan down and trying to raise the seed money to move the foundation forward," Patty explains. "But we want to help educate all these kids on the dangers of alcohol, and especially the over-consumption of alcohol."