Office of Student Life

Student Wellness Center

Alcohol Poisoning and Drug Overdosing

What You Need to Know

Alcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex and potentially lead to a coma and death. A drug overdose occurs when a person takes more than the recommended amount of a drug. 


  • The person is unconscious or semi-conscious and cannot be awakened.
  • The person's skin is cold or clammy and has pale or bluish color.
  • Slow breathing - less than eight breaths per minute or lapses between breaths of more than eight seconds.
  • Vomiting while passed out. If they are just sleeping, vomiting will certainly wake them up. If not, this is a medical emergency. 

If a person has ANY of these symptoms, call 911 right away. 

  • Call 911 first, before making any calls or doing anything else. This is a medical emergency and that person needs help right away. Time is critical in these situations!
  • Once you have called for help, turn the person on their side to prevent choking in case of vomiting if possible.
  • Avoid leaving the person alone.
  • Do not try to give your friend food or water. You may be trying to help, but if the person is unconscious or vomiting this could lead to a blocked airway.

It is important that you get help if you believe alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose has occured. Many students are fearful that they may get in trouble if they reach out for help in these situations. We want you to know that your health and safety matters, and you should refer to the Amenesty Policy in the Student Code of Conduct to see how the university will grant amenesty. 

If you or someone you spend time with uses opioids, consider picking up a free Naloxone kit on campus.The Ohio State University Wexner Medical center has partnered with Project DAWN (Deaths Avoid With Naloxone) to provide training and free naloxone kits at our hospital pharmacy locations. Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (heroin, fentanyl, or prescription pain medications). A prescription is not necessary to receive training or to pick up the medication. 

Using Naloxone will not harm an individual if it is administered and they are not experiencing an overdose caused by an opioid drug. Remeber to call 911 before administering Naloxone.