Change the Culture of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in America. Upshaw's Organization, Keep Friendship Alive
Erica Upshaw, In 2000, her older brother Joey Upshaw died at a fraternity house after heavy drinking and overdosing on the drug Gamma Hydroxybutyric acid, also known as GHB. Only two hours passed between when Joey Upshaw collapsed after taking the drug and he died. During that time, Joey Upshaw’s friends took him to his…
Erica Upshaw, In 2000, her older brother Joey Upshaw died at a fraternity house after heavy drinking and overdosing on the drug Gamma Hydroxybutyric acid, also known as GHB. Only two hours passed between when Joey Upshaw collapsed after taking the drug and he died. During that time, Joey Upshaw’s friends took him to his room to sleep it off. They went to check on him every half hour, but on the second time, he wouldn’t respond. His friends then argued for half an hour on whether or not to call the police. By the time they did call, it was too late, Upshaw said.
After her brother’s death, Upshaw continued partying and drinking excessively until a guy she had been dating confronted her about it.
Before that, she had never made the connection between the alcohol and his death. She said she had only blamed the death on the GHB. It was then she began to realize the alcohol impaired his judgments and led him to make the bad decisions that ultimately led to his death, Upshaw said.
“It was for the first time since he died I really realized what a problem my brother had,” she said. “You know Joey had an alter ego. When he would drink his friends would call him Lenny from ‘Of Mice and Men.’” Upshaw said she began to drink responsibly and started encouraging her friends to speak up if they felt someone had been drinking too much.
“I think it would be great if somebody left today and talked to a friend that they’re concerned about regarding drinking and drug use, but if all else fails, the most important thing they can take away is what to do in an emergency,” she said.
In her speech, Upshaw stressed the six ways to ensure a person drinks responsibly: make a decision to stay in control, eat before drinking, avoid the drinks that cause irrational behavior quickly, maintain a pace of one drink per hour, stay hydrated with water while drinking and use the buddy system. She also said it is important that people know to call 911 if necessary.
“I thought it was really important that she emphasizes that we can’t be bystanders, that we need to be there for our friends because we’re not in this alone,” senior Michael Banks said. “It inspired me to put myself aside and actually try to help someone,” senior Allyson Wilson said.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
keep friendship alive / erica upshaw
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