The weekend is here and stress can take a backseat to the fun in store. If any of your plans include drinking be sure to use some safer drinking strategies. This includes things like eating before/while drinking, staying well hydrated, alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, pacing oneself, and monitoring how many drinks are consumed.
Of course, these are things the drinker does for him/herself. What if you come across someone who isn't employing these safer drinking strategies? Is there anything you can do? Perhaps if it's still early in the evening, you can offer them some water or a non-alcoholic drink. Maybe they'd be up for ordering some food to help slow down their drinking and fill up their stomachs. Or maybe they have already had too much and you are starting to get worried for their safety. Then what do you?
How to Help an Intoxicated Friend
- Continue to monitor your friend.
- Check their breathing, waking them often to be sure they are not unconscious.
- Do not exercise the person.
- Do not allow the person to drive a car or ride a bicycle.
- Do not give the person food, liquid, medicines or drugs to sober them up.
- A drunk person should not be put in charge of another drunk person.
- Do not give the person a cold shower or coffee to get them to sober up-- it won't work and could lead to worse effects.
- REMEMBER: The only way to sober up is TIME.
Be aware of the signs of alcohol poisoning. Learn what you can do and who you can call.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
- Unconscious or semi-consciousness and cannot be awakened.
- There is no response to pinching the skin or other physical stimuli (gentle shaking, etc.)
- The person vomits while passed out and does not wake up during or after.
- The person has seizures.
- Slow respiration (breaths) of eight or less per minute or lapses between breaths of more than eight seconds.
- Irregular breathing.
- Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin -especially around the lips and nose.
How You Can Help
- Call HERU, Hopkins Emergency Response Unit at 410-516-7777 or 911 from any campus phone immediately.
- While waiting for 911 emergency transport, gently turn the intoxicated person on his/her side and maintain that position by placing a pillow in the small of the person’s back. This is important to prevent aspiration (choking) in case of vomiting.
- Stay with the person until medical help arrives.
- If a person appears to be “sleeping it off” it is important to realize that even though a person may be semi-conscious, alcohol already in the stomach may continue to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. The person’s life may still be in danger.
- Do not wait for all of the signs to appear and do not try to guess the level of drunkenness.
Alcohol Poisoning Information taken from http://ucc.nd.edu/self-help/alcohol-addiction/alcohol-poisoning/