What is Alcohol Poisoning?
More than 2,200 people die from alcohol poisoning each year in the United States – an average of six deaths each day – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol poisoning deaths are caused by drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This can result in very high levels of alcohol in the body, which can shutdown critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature – resulting in death.
Life-threatening signs of alcohol poisoning include:
- Inability to wake up (this might include unable to stand or walk)
- Only vaguely aware of surroundings
- Vomiting while “sleeping” or passed out
- Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
- Irregular breathing (lapses in breathing for 10 seconds or more)
- Low body temperature, bluish skin color, paleness
What Do I Do If I Suspect Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning?
As with any life-threatening situation Call 911 immediately. Do NOT wait for someone to have all the signs.
While you wait:
- Place the person on their side to prevent choking
- Do NOT give food or drink
- Do NOT induce vomiting
- Do NOT leave the person alone
When paramedics or police arrive, share what care you have provided and any information you might have regarding the amount of alcohol consumed. Because it is important that victims of alcohol-related emergencies receive medical treatment, Kansas State University students seeking immediate medical assistance for an alcohol-related emergency on behalf of themselves or another person will not be sanctioned for violation of any university alcohol-related policies.