know the signs of toxic drinking

Do you know how to tell the difference between a little too much to drink and a dangerous situation?

Many students at WSU choose not to drink. In a 2016 survey, more than 18 percent of WSU students said they’ve never used alcohol and another 14 percent said they haven’t used alcohol in the past 30 days.

However, even if you don’t drink or use alcohol in moderation, knowing when to get help for a friend can be critical. In the same survey, more than 85 percent of students said most of the time or every time they party, they stick with the same group of friends all night. Learning the signs of toxic drinking will help you know when it’s time to get help for a friend or acquaintance.

Watch out for these signs of toxic drinking. Seek medical attention for a person who:

  • Is passed out or semi-conscious and cannot be awakened;
  • Vomits while sleeping or passed out and does not wake up;
  • Has cold, clammy, pale or blueish skin; or
  • Is breathing slowly or irregularly.

If you suspect an alcohol overdose, call 911 right away. Be sure to call at the first sign of alcohol poisoning. Waiting for them to show more signs is extremely dangerous. It’s also incredibly risky to assume they’ll be fine if they just sleep it off.

If you’re worried about getting in trouble, keep in mind that WSU’s Office of Student Conduct follows a Good Samaritan Guideline that will protect you and your friend from university discipline for alcohol or drug use if you call for assistance. This guideline mirrors similar Washington state laws followed by law enforcement.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to help someone with an alcohol overdose, we offer CPR & Alcohol Safety workshops. Sign up to get your CPR certification, learn how to recognize alcohol-related medical emergencies and gain the skills and confidence to respond.