Helping a Friend Under the Influence of Alcohol

Coffee, water, cold showers or exercise cannot speed up the sobering up process! Your liver can only metabolize about one ounce of alcohol per hour.

If your friend is unconscious…
A person who has passed out, or is asleep, and cannot be awakened or can only be aroused for a few moments, needs urgent care. DO NOT assume he or she is “just sleeping it off”. People who have made this assumption later discovered (too late) that the friend was in a fatal coma. When in doubt, check for these signs:

  • breathing is very slow, and perhaps irregular
  • pulse is weak, or is either very slow or very fast
  • hands or feet are colder than normal

Call your Resident Assistant, the Residential Housing Director or the Police for assistance.

If your friend is conscious…

  • NEVER leave the drunk person alone. The full effects may not have kicked in yet.
  • Keep the drunk person from driving, biking, or going anywhere alone.
  • Turn the drunk person on his/her side or stomach to prevent aspiration of vomit (inhaling own vomit).
  • Don’t give the person any drugs or medication (not even aspirin!) to try to sober him/her up. Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages won’t help. You’ll only end up with a wide-awaked, agitated drunk person.
  • You can’t prevent the alcohol from being absorbed once it has been consumed. Giving the drunk person food will increase the risk of vomiting.
  • Skip the folk remedies. A cold shower could make the drunk person pass out or fall. Exercise won’t help and could cause an injury.
  • If your friend argues with you, don’t take what is said personally.
  • Talk to your friend about his or her behavior later on, in a private place.

If your friend becomes agitated or violent…
Keep your distance and get help. Some people who are usually very gentle-natured can become violent when intoxicated.

Technical Education Center (TEC) Building:212B

Counseling Services: 307-686-0254 ext. 2350

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