Alcohol Poisoning

The Bowdoin College Office of Safety and Security is responsible for your health and safety first. We have a relationship with our student body that is based on trust and mutual respect. Students will usually be the first to see that a fellow student is in danger from the abuse of alcohol or other drugs. Students should never hesitate to call Bowdoin Security at 725-3500. We rely on you. We are here to help our students and keep them safe.

How alcohol poisoning can be fatal

  • Intoxication increases the gag reflex. An intoxicated person who has passed out can choke on their own vomit.
  • Alcohol is a depressant, inhibiting the brain's ability to function. When a person has consumed too much alcohol the brain will start to shut down. Extremely intoxicated people may stop breathing or their heart may stop beating.
  • Because it takes time for alcohol to enter the blood stream, some people tend to drink more than their body can handle because they don't yet feel the effects.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

  • Unconscious or semiconscious
  • Breathing at a rate of 8 breaths per minute or slower
  • Breaths come every 8 seconds or slower
  • Skin is cold, clammy, bluish, and/or pale
  • Confused or altered mental state
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

What to do for someone with alcohol poisoning

  • NEVER leave the person alone
  • Don't allow the person to "sleep it off"
  • To avoid choking, have the person lie down on his side or on his stomach
  • Have someone get the Proctor/RA on duty
  • Have someone call Security at 725-3500 (X3500)
  • Keep the person awake. If the person falls asleep or passes out, wake them up
  • Don't give the person any medications; mixing medicine with alcohol can be fatal

Safe Drinking Tips

  • Never leave your drink unattended or with someone you don't know and trust.
  • Know who is pouring your drink and watch them pour it.
  • Don't drink anything that has an abnormally salty taste. The drink might contain GHB, a known date rape drug.
  • Don't drink anything that appears abnormally cloudy, because it could contain a drug.
  • Alternate drinking alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This will help keep you hydrated and allow your body time to process the alcohol.
  • Eat well. Food absorbs some of the alcohol and slows its entry into the bloodstream.
  • Go to parties with trusted friends who can be counted on to watch out for one another and see that you arrive home safely.
  • Use a sober designated driver or invite a friend who agrees to stay sober.
  • If you suspect a friend might have alcohol poisoning, get them help immediately.