Former St. Cloud State student dies; possibly from excessive drinkingby Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio
Family members say alcohol likely played a role in the death of 20-year-old Brian Threet over the weekend in St. Cloud. The family is still waiting for autopsy results, but say authorities and his friends claim Brian's death came after a night of binge drinking.
It's the latest in a string of alcohol related deaths among college age students in Minnesota.
St. Cloud, Minn. — Here's how Joshua Threet wants everyone to remember his brother Brian.
"He was a real laid back guy, he would do anything for his friends, he loved working out, he had no fat on him, he never ate fast food, he never drank pop, he was a real health freak," said Threet.
But Joshua Threet admits his brother, like many young people, liked to drink with friends.
After a semester off from St. Cloud State University, Brian Threet had plans to re-enroll in classes this week.
Joshua said his brother told him that there were a lot of parties going on in St. Cloud because students were out of class for winter break.
The Farmington, Minnesota, native, was found dead in in his apartment bedroom by a roommate on Saturday, after what friends say was a night of heavy drinking.
"We gotta accept it and we gotta move on from the fact that he just partied too much," said Joshua Threet. "There was no indication of foul play, he just went to bed and never woke up."
The Stearns County coroner is expected to announce Tuesday whether Brain Threet's death was caused by alcohol. If it was, it's another in a series of recent alcohol-related deaths among Minnesotans of college age.
In December, a 20-year-old Winona State University student died after a night of binge drinking. Friends say she was drinking for 12 hours straight.
In November, a 22-year-old Mankato State University student was hit by a car and died. Authorities say alcohol probably played a role. She was lying in a road after leaving a party.
And in October, a 21-year-old former Mankato State University nursing student died of alcohol poisoning after celebrating her 21st birthday with a night of drinking.
"it's part of a trend that's going on in Minnesota as well as nationally where the object is to drink as much as possible as quickly as possible," said Carol Falkowski, director of the chemical health division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Falkowski said binge drinking, which is considered four drinks or more for women and five drinks or more for men on one occasion, is deeply ingrained in college culture. But she said it also appears to be part of Minnesota culture.
"In Minnesota, we tend to be at the higher end of the spectrum both in terms of the percentage of the population that drinks alcohol as well as the percent of the population that binge drinks," said Falkowski. "So within our broader culture we have elevated levels of both drinking and binge drinking."
Falkowski said the best way to combat binge drinking, especially among college students, is to educate them on the dangers of too much alcohol. She said that's a message that needs to be reinforced by parents, by colleges and by communities.
- Morning Edition, 01/08/2008, 6:40 a.m.