Chris Farley’s Brother Speaks about Substance Abuse at University
Thomas Farley, Jr., brother of the late Saturday Night Live comedian and actor Chris Farley, visited the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to raise awareness of drug and alcohol abuse in a comedic way.
"Drugs and alcohol abuse can happen to anyone whether you’re famous or not," said Montine Pauer, Student Assistant Program (SAP) Coordinator and Counselor for the University Health & Counseling Services. "This is important. We [were] looking for people to tell their stories, from faculty, staff, and students, to get an interesting mix of how drugs and alcohol touched their life.”
During the week of October 5th, SAP hosted events to celebrate the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, which is usually honored during the week of October 18th to 24th. Pauer planned the awareness week early to accommodate for the Homecoming events set for the following week. "I wanted to get [the students] before they made bad decisions and [went] out (to) drink," Pauer said.
During the laid-back discussion, Farley said the drinking culture in Wisconsin has a great impact on the number of reported drunk drivers that are on the road. In an impromptu section of the discussion, six volunteers participated in an activity to resolve an issue by contributing one sentence beginning with a different letter of the alphabet.
"The exercise makes people think about the different solutions you can come up with to resolve an issue," Farley said.
The scenario presented was what to do when a friend becomes too intoxicated and passes out while a group is hanging out in a friend’s basement. Some of the solutions included finding an adult, banging pots and pans to wake him up, and calling 911.
Farley is an advocate for drug and alcohol awareness due to the impact his brother’s death had on him and his family. He wrote of his struggles with his brother’s addiction in his book, "The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts.”