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Office of Wellness Education

What To Do If You Suspect a Friend has Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency that is potentially life threatening.  Here’s what to do:

Check for signs of Alcohol Poisoning:

  • Passing out- they don’t respond when you try to wake them.
  • Problems breathing- long pauses between breaths or irregular and slow breathing. (more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Weak pulse.
  • Repeated vomiting or vomiting while passed out.
  • Skin that is bluish, pale, moist or cold to the touch.
  • Can’t communicate or stand up on their own.

If you see any of the above signs OR are unsure, do the following:

  1. Call for help!- If you are unsure and at all concerned call Merrimack Police at 978-837-5911.                 Amnesty Policy- Any student who seeks out medical assistance on behalf of themselves or another student, and remains with the student until a time when help arrives, will not be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the alcohol and/or drug policies, at the discretion of the Director of Community Standards. For more information about this Medical Amnesty policy, please refer to page 45 of the Student Handbook, located at www.merrimack.edu/handbook.
  2. Place the person on his/her side to avoid choking on vomit. 
  3. Do not leave person alone. Try to keep them awake if possible.
  4. Remain calm- Avoid communicating feelings of anger or anxiety.  Speak calmly to the person and try to keep them relaxed.

Avoid doing the following:

  1. Giving them food, drink, or medication of any kind because it may cause vomiting or a reaction with the alcohol.
  2. Letting them “sleep it off” because alcohol poisoning can be lethal!
  3. Putting them in a cold shower- They are likely to fall so it could be dangerous.

 

  Adapted From:

“Searidge Alcohol Rehab.” Dangers of Alcohol Poisoning-Signs, Symptoms and What to Do. 2015. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.

“Alcohol Overdose What Should You Do?” Alcohol Poisoning. 2015. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.