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Service Today for Novato Man Who Died at UCSB

Death appears to be related to alcohol consumption, according to the family.

Friends and family are mourning the loss of a 19-year-old Novato man whose family said he died of alcohol poisoning on Dec. 1 on the campus of UC Santa Barbara.

According to a published obituary and posts on various websites, a service for Alec Jacob Torchon was scheduled for Friday at Congregation Rodef Sholom at 170 No. San Pedro Road in San Rafael.

In the obituary, the family said he died accidentally from a mixture of alcohol and a drug suspected to be a painkiller and described the incident as a "foolish" accident. 

"We add this as a warning to spread the word of the all-too-real dangers of this kind of risky behavior," the Torchons wrote.

Torchon, known as AJ, was a graduate of Marin School of the Arts. A detective with the Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office said a toxicology report is in the works and results can take up to six weeks. He also said a final report on the death could take up to six months.

Eight days earlier, a 22-year-old woman died in a fall from an apartment balcony near UCSB campus in an incident police believe had ties to alcohol use, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. A 22-year-old man also fell and was listed in stable condition.

Novato, along with other Marin towns, has been striving to confront a deep and troubling track record of binge-drinking problems among minors. Most recently, a group of six 17-year-olds escaped major injuries when the young driver who admitted to using alcohol and marijuana slammed his SUV into a tree and ditch at the corner of Sutro Avenue and Vineyard Road. There have been several deaths in recent years of young Novato residents in alcohol-related crashes.

The Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth, Healthy Novato, the Novato Police Department and many other groups have discussed the issue at public workshops and sought effective ways to reduce alcohol consumption among youths.

A memorial page has been set up in AJ's name and includes photos of his Novato friends chalking his initials into the hill behind San Marin High School. Also, a foundation has been established in AJ's name, set up "to educate college students and their families on the deadly consequences of alcohol and drug use as well as to ensure that college students have access to the proper level of counseling, support and guidance," according to the Facebook page. 

Do you have photos of AJ you'd be willing to share? If you're logged into the Patch site, you can just hit "upload." Or you can e-mail brent.ainsworth@patch.com.

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Brent Ainsworth December 08, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Would have shared this earlier so that some of you could have attended the service, but just got wind of it this afternoon. Super sad. Condolences to the parents.
Debbie Hanks December 08, 2012 at 01:02 AM
The service was lovely tribute to an outstanding young man. A.J. was a light, a joy, a brilliant mind and a passionate soul. A student, friend, son and brother who will be painfully missed yet remembered only with smiles and laughs. Prayers for his family and all who love him!
wrntygrl December 08, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Such a heart breaking and devastating loss. I did not know this young man, but he was friends with my step-daughter. The family is in our thoughts and prayers and we appreciate their willingness to share their story in the hopes of saving if even just one child from the same fate.
NovatoAVID December 08, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Youth drinking is a direct reflection of adult drinking in this county---we cannot handle one without dealing with the obvious.

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