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If it all goes wrong

Drinking very large amounts in one session can lead to acute alcohol poisoning which in turn can result in unconsciousness, a coma, or even death.

If it all goes wrong, it’s essential to get emergency help. If someone loses consciousness after drinking too much, here’s what to do:

  • Keep them on their side with their head turned to the side (the recovery position).
  • Make sure they’re breathing and their mouth and airways are clear.
  • If they stop breathing, start mouth to mouth resuscitation.
  • Loosen any tight clothing that might restrict their breathing.
  • Keep them warm (but not too hot) - with blankets or a coat.
  • Call an ambulance but don’t leave them… ask someone reliable to call the ambulance.

If someone vomits you should:

  • Try to keep them sitting up.
  • If they must lie down, make sure they’re in the recovery position and that their mouth and airway are clear.
  • If they begin to choke, get help immediately.
  • Don’t leave them even if you can’t bear the sight or smell of someone vomiting.

Alcohol poisoning is extremely dangerous. It can lead to a coma and in extreme cases, death. The amount of alcohol it takes to cause alcohol poisoning depends on many factors, including size, weight, age and so on. Teenagers and inexperienced drinkers are particularly vulnerable. The signs of alcohol poisoning

Someone may have alcohol poisoning if:

  • They are breathing less than twelve times a minute or stop breathing for periods of ten seconds or more.
  • They’re asleep and you can’t wake them up.
  • Their skin is cold, clammy, pale and bluish in colour.

If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, treat it as a medical emergency - call an ambulance and stay with the person until help

How to recognise if your child is secretly drinking

Look out for:

  • abrupt mood swings for no apparent or good reason
  • skipping classes, or just not going in to school
  • frequent lateness
  • money disappearing from your purse/ wallet disappearing to their room the moment they come in for the day
  • significant change in school performance
  • restlessness or tiredness
  • smelling of alcohol
  • suddenly using breath mints or brushing teeth regularly
  • wanting to stay over in friends’ houses, especially after parties
  • becoming very secretive (more so than usual).


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