I recently received a brochure entitled "How to Care For Someone Who Has Had Too Much To Drink"
It was mainly intended for the college crowd. I’m not a doctor, but I figured someone might stumble on to my site looking for an answer to this question. Therefore, here is the text of the brochure:
While most college students understand the importance of drinking responsibly, situations can arise where people become very drunk. Providing care for a person who is drunk is important; failure to act could result in a life or death situation. By following the steps outlined here, you will be better prepared to handle an alcohol-related emergency:
- Stay calm so the person will remain calm. Don’t communicate anxiety.
- Assess the situation. If the person exhibits any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately
- Is he/she breathing fewer than 8 times per minute?
- Do More than 10 seconds pas between breaths?
- Can you get a reaction by calling his/her name or pinching him/her?
- Is his/her skin cold, clammy or pale blue in color?
- Get help if the person becomes violent, or if you believe the alcohol has been combined with other drugs
- Keep your distance. Before approaching or touching, explain what you intend to do in a calm, reassuring manner.
- Keep the person comfortable.
- Prevent him/her from driving or biking.
- Stay with the drunk person. Don’t leave him/her alone to sleep it off. If the person cannot be wakened periodically, seek immediate medical attention.
- Providing food, aspirin or caffeine may increase the risk of vomiting. Providing liquid stimulants will only result in a wide-awake, agitated drunk person.
- Don’t put the person in a cold shower. The shock may cause the person to pass out, resulting in injury.
- Don’t force the person to exercise to burn of the alcohol, this could also cause injuries.
- Know that time is the only thing that will sober the person up.
- Utilize the support of others; enlist involvement of friends. Get a sober friend if you are intoxicated.
Providing care for someone who has had too much to drink can mean the difference between a tragedy and an ill-fated evening. If you feel concerned, chances are you should be concerned, and you should act o protect that person. Ramifications are substantially more significant if a tragedy occurs.
Adapted from Tri-State University’s "Taking Care of an Intoxicated Person," Trinity University’s "Caring for an Intoxicated Friend," and "Reducing High-Risk Drinking" from Ohio University.