Office of Student Life

Student Wellness Center

Alcohol Poisoning and Drug Overdosing

What You Need to Know 

Alcohol poisoningis 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. 

Signs of alcohol poisoning: 

  • The person is unconscious or semi-conscious and cannot be awakened.
  • The person's skin is cold or clammy and has a 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, if possible, to prevent choking in case of vomiting. 
  • 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. 

Drug overdoses occur when a person takes more than the recommended amount of a drug or a drug they use has been contaminated with an unknown cutting agent. 

Signs of an overdose: 

  • Loss of consciousness and unresponsive to stimulation 
  • Breathing is slow, shallow, erratic or stopped 
  • Pulse is slow, erratic or not detectable 
  • Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish/black 
  • Vomiting 
  • Skin tone turns bluish purple or grayish/ashen 
  • Choking sounds, snore-like gurgling noise (AKA the “death rattle”) 
  • Dizziness or confusion 

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! 
  • Administer Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) if available. 
  • Once you have called for help, turn the person on their side, if possible, to prevent choking in case of vomiting. 
  • Avoid leaving the person alone. 

If you or someone you spend time with uses opioids or any other drugs not provided medically, consider picking up a free Naloxone kit on campus. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical center, Office of Student Life and College of Public Health have partnered with Project DAWN (Deaths Avoid With Naloxone) to provide training and free naloxone kits on campus through the Wilce Student Health Pharmacy.?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. Remember to call 911 before administering Naloxone!