College Drinking FAQ

The following are some of the common questions and answers regarding risks and consequences of the excessive drinking that is all too common on college campuses.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

When a person drinks alcohol rapidly, his or her blood alcohol level can quickly climb to a dangerous level. High levels of alcohol affect parts of the brain and nervous system that control breathing, heartbeat and other related functions. When the blood alcohol level gets too high, a person can stop breathing and his or her heart may stop beating. A person is normally unconscious when they are this drunk.

How Can You Tell When a Person is Suffering from Alcohol Poisoning?

If conscious, the person will be very confused or appear to be in a stupor. If they are unconscious, they may appear to be in a coma. They will be unresponsive if someone tries to wake them up. They may also show the following signs: vomiting, seizures or unusually slow or irregular breathing. They may feel cold, be pale and their skin may look bluish, all signs of the hypothermia that may occur when too much alcohol has been drunk.

Is It OK to Let a Person Who Has Passed Out from Drinking Just Sleep it Off?

NO! There are two reasons for this. First, a person who passes out after drinking may still have more unabsorbed alcohol in their stomach or intestines. While they are unconscious, alcohol will still be absorbed into the bloodstream. Alcohol depresses respiration and the gag reflex, meaning that even though the body might like to vomit up the toxic amount of alcohol that has been consumed, it may not be able to. The alcohol in the person’s body may just depress respiration to the point of death, if the individual is not gotten to an emergency room for care.

Second, if the body has enough gag reflex remaining to vomit up the alcohol and other stomach contents, aspiration or inhaling the vomit is quite common. This can lead to a person suffocating on their own vomit.

What Should Be Done For a Person Who Has Alcohol Poisoning?

The only safe thing to do is get the person into an emergency room of a hospital where their breathing can be supported, they can be given fluids and monitoring will be constant. Few people outside a hospital can provide constant enough and skilled enough care to get the person through all the hazards of an alcohol overdose. It is better to have your friend be mad at you for days or even weeks than to know that you could have helped him or her survive the alcohol overdose but you just failed to help.

What are Some Signs That a College Student is Not in Control of His or Her Drinking?

  • Schoolwork assignments are not completed or fall off in quality.
  • Grades drop, attendance in classes is poor.
  • There have been disciplinary actions by the school, perhaps repeatedly.
  • Legal problems are showing up from DUI arrests or assaults while the person was under the influence.
  • Relationships with friends, a girlfriend or boyfriend, faculty and family are deteriorating.
  • The person goes through personality changes such as becoming more irritable, impatient, defensive or temperamental.
  • The person begins to experience memory lapses, has poor concentration.
  • The person’s physical condition or personal care begins to worsen.

How Many People Die or are Hurt Each Year from Alcohol-Related Causes?

A report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that about 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes.  More than half a million more are injured in alcohol-related incidents.

What other harm occurred while college students had been drinking?

This 2009 report also stated that nearly 696,000 college students were assaulted by another student who had been drinking, and 97,000 were the victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

How Many Students are Problem Drinkers?

About 25 percent of college students included in a number of surveys reported problems with their classes, grades or assignments as a result of drinking. A little more than one percent of students whose drinking has gotten out of control has tried to commit suicide. And nearly one-third of all students were consuming alcohol and seeing adverse effects to the extent that they could be classified as dependent on or abusing alcohol.

How Can You Help a College Student if He or She Can’t Control a Drinking Problem?

If you get the student to an effective alcohol rehabilitation program, he or she can recover from the alcohol abuse, learn how to live alcohol-free, and then return to school to complete their education. Many colleges and universities will permit a medical leave so a student can enter an inpatient rehabilitation program.

Many college students who once had alcohol or drug problems found that they could live drug-free and alcohol-free after they completed the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. With Narconon programs available on six continents, college students around the world have a way to leave alcohol abuse behind in favor of a productive, enjoyable life free from drugs or alcohol.

If you know a student who is struggling with alcohol abuse, contact a Narconon drug and alcohol rehab counselor to find out how to get them help.


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