Article by: Harley Harrison and Grant Siddall | News Staff
When your friend drinks too much, passes out and you can’t wake them up, what can you do?
The previous question is a scenario thousands of people are put in every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of about six people die from alcohol poisoning every day, with a total of about 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths annually.
Many college students spend time around binge drinkers. Being able to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning could potentially save their lives.
Step Up is a bystander intervention program that deals with prevention of alcohol abuse and sexual assault on campus at Ferris.
During Resident Adviser (RA) training, the signs of alcohol poisoning are taught to RAs so they can better address the situations that may arise pertaining to alcohol abuse.
“The scariest incident I’ve witnessed involved a freshman resident who came back into the residence hall after an evening of heavy drinking” Ferris biology and pre-pharmacy senior and RA Erin Duma said. “His friends claimed that he has been far worse in the past and he would just ‘sleep it off’ that night. The other RA who was on duty with me suggested that we double check to make sure he wasn’t on the verge of alcohol poisoning. It’s a good thing we did. The resident was naked and unconscious in his bed and had vomited all over the room. It was even hard to tell if he was breathing or not because he was so unresponsive.”
But a person does not have to be unconscious for others to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning.
“The rule of thumb is if a student is sick to their stomach or can’t walk, get an ambulance transport and DPS right away,” Ferris elementary education senior and RA Melissa Harvill said.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, those signs include confusion, seizures, slow breathing, hypothermia and blue or pale skin.
For students at Ferris, it is always safe to call housing staff, the Department of Public Safety or 911, even if the student who needs medical attention is underage.
According to the Ferris Office of Student Conduct 2017-18 Code of Student Community Standards,“in instances in which a student calls Public Safety, contacts housing staff or another health and safety entity for assistance with an alcohol or other drug related emergency, the individual calling, those present in the immediate vicinity or the student in need of assistance, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the University for their own personal consumption of alcohol, drugs or other minor policy violations at or near the time of the incident.”
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