Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol Emergencies: What to do and how to avoid them

Drinking alcohol can be fun, but there is a fine line between fun and an unwanted problem. Drinking too much, too fast is one way someone can overdose on alcohol (i.e., alcohol poisoning). The human body processes a typical alcoholic drink in a little over an hour.  Microbrew beers will likely have more alcohol in them, so reading the label for alcohol percentage is helpful before drinking, if there is not a percentage, then the beer is less than 6%.

It is important for members of a community to know what to do when someone needs help, including alcohol poisoning. Please learn how to Howl For Help by memorizing the signs and symptoms as well as how to respond when someone has drank too much below. Feel free to contact us if you want us to send you something to help you remember. Here’s also a video from our friends at UNC-Chapel Hill that show you what to do in case of alcohol poisoning.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning (If one sign/symptom is present call 911)

  • Unconsciousness or semi-consciousness (Cannot fully wake them)
  • Heart rate seems slow
  • Breathing seems slow
  • Slow heart rate
  • Skin color changed and/or clammy
  • Eyes roll back in head
  • Vomiting while sleeping or passed out
  • If something just doesn’t seem right

How to Help Someone with Alcohol Poisoning

  • CALL 911
  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Put the person on their side and make sure they stay on their side
  • Wait with them until help arrives

How to avoid all this:

  • Eat before and while drinking
  • Alternate alcohol drinks with nonalcoholic drinks like water
  • Set a drink limit for the night and stick to it (ask a friend to remind you if needed)
  • Pace drinking throughout the night (no more than one per hour)
  • Get a good night sleep before hand
  • De-stress before drinking (exercise, mindful practice, whatever works)
  • Do other fun things in your routine besides drinking or using drugs
  • Do not mix alcohol with other drugs (including caffeine)
  • Ask your doctor how your prescribed medications interact with alcohol

If you are worried about your alcohol or other drug use or someone you know, you can contact the following campus resources:

NC State Counseling Center 919.515.2423

Alcohol & Other Drug Prevention Education 919.513-3295 or 919.515.2193 alcohol-drug-ed@ncsu.edu