Alcohol: Being Prepared
Drinking alcohol can have unwanted consequences. As a young adult, you may find yourself in difficult situations. How do you know if your friend has had too much to drink and has put him or herself in a dangerous situation? What should you do if you think he or she has alcohol poisoning? What numbers should you call if your friend is in danger? Below you will find basic information on alcohol safety as well as helpful contact information.
- Before the evening starts, select a designated driver, who will not be drinking. Make sure that this person does not drink that evening, and have a backup plan for getting home.
- Do not let your friends drive after they have had any alcohol, and do not get in a car with a driver that has been drinking. It is helpful to have the Safe Rides number or local cab company number in your phone if you need a ride back.
- If a friend has had too much to drink or alcohol poisoning, they may become unconscious, have shallow or slow breathing, a slow pulse rate and/or cold clammy skin. Call 911 immediately. Roll them to their side so that they do not choke if they vomit.
- Know your limits. If you are new to drinking, keep your consumption low — one or two drinks, with food and over at least two hours. If the last time you drank more than two you were sick the next day, do not do it again!
- Do not accept drinks that you did not see made, from someone you don’t know, or drinks that have been poured from an open source. This includes a fruit punch bowl, an opened can of beer, Jello shots or anything that was made before the party. You do not know how much alcohol was used or if anything else was added to the drink.
- Never leave your drink unattended. If you do, abandon it and get a new one.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions like breathing and the gag reflex. A fatal dose of alcohol will stop these functions. Some critical signs of alcohol poisoning include:
- Confusion, stupor or coma
- Irregular breathing: 10 seconds or more between breaths
- Low body temperature, bluish skin, paleness
Important Contact Information
- Emergency Medical Service (911) for suspected alcohol poisoning or drug overdose
- Your school’s Student Health Service, Student Counseling Service, or Alcohol and other Drug Program
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline 1-800-ALCOHOL (252-6465)
- Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters (includes Alateen) 1-888-4AL-ANON (425-2666)
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Drug Treatment Referral Routing Service 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA) 818-773-9999