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Close to 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year. Death due to alcohol is preventable, yet it ranks fourth in the list of most common causes of death. Death by alcohol poisoning takes an average of six lives per day due to binge drinking.

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period. For women it’s defined as drinking four or more alcoholic beverages during a two-hour period. Men who drink five or more during a two-hour period are binge drinking.

Alcohol Consumption Moderate Heavy Binge*
Men 2 Drinks/Day 4 Drinks/Day

14 Dinks/Week

5 + Drinks in 2 Hours
Women 1 Drink/Day 3 Drinks/Day

7 Drinks/Week

4 + Drinks in 2 Hours


*Binge drinking causes 1 in 10 deaths of adults 20-64 years of age due to alcohol poisoning.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

When a person drinks, the alcohol impairs basic body functions such as speech and judgment. But as a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) increases, so does the risk of serious harm. Once signs of impairment show, one should stop drinking. Signs of impairment include slurred speech, lack of balance, and a change in characteristic behavior. If one continues to drink after showing signs of impairment, there is risk of alcohol poisoning leading to serious harm and even death.

Alcohol Poisoning Awareness: Know the Signs

Alcohol depresses the nervous system which controls involuntary response in the body. Breath control and gag reflex are two functions controlled by the nervous system. An overdose of alcohol can impair and even stop these functions.

When someone has overdosed on alcohol vomiting may occur as the stomach will try to rid itself of the toxins. When the person has overdosed, the gag reflexes no longer work, and choking will occur. This can be fatal if the person is unconscious.

Be aware of the signs for alcohol poisoning. Get help quickly when someone displays one or more symptoms, even if not certain about the amount consumed.

College Drinking Prevention’s Critical Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.
  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures.
  • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.

 Alcohol Poisoning Awareness: What to Do?

If someone is showing signs of alcohol poisoning, call 911. Do not wait for all symptoms to be present before seeking help. Any one of the symptoms is life threatening. Do not be concerned if the person will be angry that you sought help. Saving a life is more important than someone’s discomfort or embarrassment.

Alcohol Poisoning Awareness: What not to Do?

Never leave a person alone who is showing signs of alcohol poisoning. Call 911 and continue watching the person until help arrives. If he is vomiting, keep him in a sitting position as the gag reflex is impaired. This will keep him from choking. Never try to induce vomiting.

Alcohol Poisoning Awareness: Know Someone at Risk?

Do you know someone who has a history of binge drinking? Or someone who drinks more than four alcoholic beverages per night? If so, help is available. Contact Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616 to schedule an intervention and help prevent alcohol poisoning.

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