HELPING A DRUNK FRIEND

What you do to help depends on the state of your friend. Your friend doesnít have to be passed out or throwing up to need your help. Other signs for concern:

If you observe any of these symptoms in your friend, but youíre not sure whether to get medical help, err on the side of caution and call 911. If you donít believe itís necessary to seek medical attention, hereís what you should do:

  1. Stop the person from drinking alcohol.
  2. Find a quiet place for the person to sit and relax (walking around is not the best idea if the person has lost coordination).
  3. Make sure your friend stays warm because a high BAC can lower body temperature, even if the person feels warm.
  4. Offer water and food if the person feels hungry (eating after alcohol has already been consumed wonít help reduce BAC) remember that nothing except time can help a person ďsober up.Ē
  5. If your friend wants to lie down, make sure he lies on his side and place something behind his back to prevent him from rolling over.
  6. Monitor your friendís breathing while she sleeps to make sure it is not abnormally shallow or slow.

3 General Rules:

Rule #1: Donít leave your friend alone, even if the person is conscious. Watch for signs of alcohol poisoning.

Rule #2: Do not assume that he/she will make it home safely. The full effect of the alcohol may not have hit yet. If the individual has vomited, lost motor coordination, or is not coherent, it may be necessary to seek medical attention.

Rule #3: Do not assume an unconscious person is sleeping. The individual may be suffering from alcohol poisoning.

How can you tell the difference between being passed out and alcohol poisoning?

There are three key symptoms that indicate alcohol poisoning.

  1. You cannot wake your friend, and observe that he/she has cold, clammy, or unusually pale or bluish skin.
  2. Slow or irregular breathing (less than eight times minute or at least 10 seconds between breaths).
  3. The individual does not wake up during or after vomiting.

How can you help?

If you observe one or more of these three symptoms, call 911 immediately. Continue efforts to wake your friend, and make sure he/she is lying on the side of his/her body to prevent choking on vomit. Closely monitor breathing and perform CPR if breathing stops. If you donít know CPR, find someone who does. In a non-emergency situation, call the Department of Public Safety at 610 558-5555