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NYC Mom Calls On Bars To Help Fight Binge Drinking After Daughter’s Death

23-year-old ActressShana Dowdeswell Died Of Alcohol Poisoning Last December
Actress Shana Dowdeswell on March 4, 2009. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Actress Shana Dowdeswell on March 4, 2009. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The mother of a young actress who died after a night of drinking in Greenwich Village is calling on city bars to help combat what she calls an epidemic of binge drinking by young people.

Shana Dowdeswell, a 23-year-old actress who appeared on “Law & Order,” died of alcohol poisoning on December 12 days after she was found collapsed outside her family’s home after drinking heavily at local bars.

Now, her mother Laurie Smith Dowdeswell is calling on bars in New York City to make the nightlife safer.

Dowdeswell acknowledges her daughter was binge drinking, but said some bars serve inordinate amounts of alcohol and sometimes lure customers with the promise of free alcohol.

“It seems to be almost like, ‘Come on kids, oh come here and you could have free shots,'” Dowdeswell said. “That certainly could’ve contributed to my daughter’s death.”

She said one bartender served Shana four shots of whiskey at no charge on that night.

“I don’t blame him because he didn’t come drag her off the sidewalk and into the bar, but instead of giving her a whiskey, let’s give her a glass of ginger ale or a big glass of water or maybe it’s time for her to go home,” Dowdeswell said.

Dowdeswell is considering forming a group called Mothers Against Overdrinking to prevent future tragedies.

“I’ve been in shock and in mourning and I continue to be, but it had gotten to a point where I thought it’s time to sort of act a bit on this and see if there’s a way to prevent another young person’s death,” Dowdeswell said.

Dowdeswell is also calling on the bar industry to retrain workers to adopt measures to help prevent dangerous binge drinking.

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