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The Crossland Family
By MADD | January 12, 2012| 8 Comments | Filed in: Power of Parents , Underage Drinking

Drew Crossland was your typical all-American student. He was involved in sports and did well in school. But all of that changed around the time Drew was a junior in high school. 

One night when Drew was only 17, his parents, Jean and George Crossland, got a phone call from the local hospital informing them that their son had been admitted. Jean and George arrived to find out that Drew had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance, with signs of alcohol poisoning. Drew was at a party with some friends, drank too much alcohol and passed out. Fortunately, his friends called an ambulance, and Drew survived the frightening experience.

George said that Jean “came down pretty hard on Drew” and thought the experience was a good wake up call. After that night, Drew seemed to get his act together and finished up the school year without any other problems.

But unfortunately, that night would not be the last time that George and Jean would get that call.

Drew continued to abuse drugs and alcohol over the next several years, and when he was 23, he spent the day with friends watching sports and drinking. But later that night, one of his friends found him passed out in another room; he was blue. This time when his parents were called to the hospital, Drew was already being placed on life support, and would not survive. Drew’s death certificate read: “over indulged in alcohol”.

Since Drew’s death, his family has become advocates in the fight against underage drinking. They speak at various panels at high schools to tell their son’s story in hopes of preventing another teen from going down Drew’s path and losing their life too young from alcohol and drugs. In fact, George Crossland went back to school and received his psychology degree, and has applied for an alcohol and drug license.

As George said, “hindsight is beautiful,” and through their tragic experience he has advice for other parents about talking with their teens about alcohol and drugs. “You need to be honest and up front in the discussion, and let your children know you are there for them. Make sure your children know they have somewhere to go with their problems,” George said.

If you are a parent whose teen has already starting to experiment with drugs and alcohol, George’s advice is to “get on top of the situation right away, drinking is not a rite of passage. Monitor the situation closely and don't assume just because you drank at an early age that your child will also come out alright.” 

It’s because of stories like the Crossland’s that MADD developed the Power of Parents™ program to educate parents about the dangers of underage drinking and give them the tools they need to start talking with their kids about alcohol. Early drinking increases the odds that a child will get hooked on alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. In fact, kids who drink before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics. 

It’s never too early to talk with your child about the dangers of underage drinking. Download our free parent handbook to help you start the conversation today. 

The Crossland Family




Submitted by lkalesh at 08:28 PM on February 8, 2012
My husband was killed on his way home from work by an 18 yr. driver - who was driving with five different drugs in his system. He was alseep at the wheel at 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Four others were seriously injured. He has yet to go to prison and this happened in Oct/09. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 34 yrs in prison. Which means he serves 5 years 8 ,months. Going on three years and he is still out on appeal. I say appeal from jail you killed my husband. Take your sentence like a man. Why is this dragging out and the criminal gets treated better than the victims. How can I help this broken system?
Submitted by Anonymous at 12:28 PM on February 2, 2012
Matt, Thank you so much for your caring and kind words. My husband and I got teary eyed as we read through your comment. The hurt and helplessness never goes away. We're trying to accept it by educating other kids and their parents about the dangers and sometime fatal outcomes of binge drinking. Parents should talk openly about the dangers of alcohol poisoning, starting at age 13 yrs. old. 33% of 13 yr. olds in JO. CO.,drink. Middle school is the prime time to have this conversation. Don't wait until high school ! As a parent of 4 boys I thought, this won't ever happen to us- this happens to other people !!! IT COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE. My e-mail is
Submitted by Matt at 04:06 PM on January 31, 2012
When I was a Sophmore in high school I woke up in the hospital. I had no idea where I was and what had happened to me. I remember the doctor saying to me, "Is this the real Matt finally?" This particular night I had experienced Alcohol Poinsening. My BAC reached a .39 level before it had reversed. I was starting to show signs of slipping into a coma. This particular night I was lucky. I was able to pull through. This night changed my life. To this day I do not drink alcohol. I now have a 15 year old son in high school. I believe it is so important to share with him my experience as well as others. I am deeply sorry about your loss. I am very impressed that you are on a mission to help others. I would love the opportunity to talk with you about your experience. Please let me know how I might make this happen. God Bless.
Submitted by Sandy at 10:47 AM on January 24, 2012
Miss him dearly. Love to all of you.
Submitted by Dee at 12:20 PM on January 21, 2012
Honestly I thank you for all that you do, but at the end of the day drunk drivers get away with a slap on the wrist all the time. I was injured by a drunk driver who ended leaveing the scene and he ended up hitting several others cars. I did some research and found out exactly the year before he did the same exact thing 3 seperate times. Do you want to know his punishment? 100 dollar fine! While I am left with hospital bills and in collections. I looked up what he was actually charged with and it turns out they only charged him with evading responsiblity! It was a joke. So what does this person have to do to actually get a real punishment? This guy obviously drinks and drives often with no penalty, so why would he stop? He knows all he will have to do is pay a fine. So I guess nothing happens to drunk drivers who just injure people. The next time this person drinks and drives, because we all know he will, I just hope he doesnt end up killing any one. Then of course they will want to do something, but by then its too late. So why is it that it takes something like death for these people to be put away. If you drink and drive and you get caught, regardless if you hurt any one, you should be put away. The fact is once you drink and drive you put every ones life in danger, therefore you should be taken off the streets so you cant hurt any one.
Submitted by Annie at 06:54 PM on January 18, 2012
I am also a parent of a four sons who do a lot of drinking and indulging in illegal drugs at times. I am trusting God that these young men will see the light and turn away from their habits. I know that through education and the Lord it will be the only way that they understand and maybe seeing their kids grow up they will stop. I am also sorry for your loss and the helplessness that you must feel, I also feel that.Thank You for all that you do to help others, ie. parents and the kids.
Submitted by Mary & Steve at 10:35 AM on January 15, 2012
Love you guys. You are an example of turning a tragedy into helping others and allowing God to use you.
Submitted by regrets at 05:21 PM on January 13, 2012
I as a parent of a 23 yr old regret deeply that I didn't do something for him when he started drinking at an early age(14)to be exact.He has had DUIs,arrests,overnight jail time,revoked license but to no evail he still drinks to get drunk and I too worry about alcoholic poisoning.I'm deeply sorry about you're loss and I can't imagine the emptiness and powerlessness you felt.I hope through your work to prevent other parents from enduring this you will get closure.

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