Don't leave them alone at any time and be prepared to administer CPR.
Remember that there is a chance that a person who has passed out may not ever regain consciousness and there is a serious risk that death could occur.
If they are conscious and responsive:
Check often to make sure they are still conscious and responsive.
Make certain that they stay on their side, not their back. Gently turn them onto their side and into the Bacchus Maneuver position.
Before you touch them, tell them exactly what you are going to do. Be aware of any signs of aggression. Do not ridicule, judge, threaten or try to counsel them.
Remain calm and be firm. Avoid communicating feelings of anxiety or anger.
Keep them quiet and comfortable. If they are in the sun, move them to the shade. If cold, move them to a warm place and offer a blanket.
Don't give them food, drink or medication of any kind.
Remember that only time will sober up a drunk person. Walking, showering or drinking coffee will not help and may actually cause harm.
UT Austin students, staff and faculty can refer an individual to the Sobering Center of Austin/Travis County by calling (512)957-1900. The Sobering Center provides a safe, no-cost location for publicly intoxicated individuals to sober up. Learn more about the Sobering Center.
What can happen if an alcohol overdose goes untreated?
A person could choke on their vomit.
Breathing may slow down, become irregular, and stop.
Heart may beat irregularly and stop.
Hypothermia (low body temperature).
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can lead to seizures.
Severe dehydration from vomiting, which can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, or death.
Seek medical help for a friend who has had too much to drink. Your friend may become upset if you call 911, but it's better to have your friend alive and upset than to lose them.
Responding to alcohol overdose:
Whether someone is conscious or unconscious, first perform the Bacchus Maneuver.
If someone passes out from drinking too much, you can help by positioning them so they will not choke on their vomit. If you are worried about them, get medical attention, especially if you can't awaken them to the point that they can talk to you.
The Bacchus Maneuver
Raise the arm that is closest to you above their head. Prepare to roll them towards you.
Gently roll them toward you, guarding their head from hitting the floor. The head should rest in front of the arm, not on it.
Tilt the head up to maintain airway. Tuck their nearest hand under the cheek to help maintain head tilt and raise the face off the floor.
University Health Services is committed to providing high-quality care to patients of all ages, races, ethnicities, physical abilities or attributes, religions, sexual orientations or gender identities/expression.
University Health Services is committed to providing high-quality care to patients of all ages, races, ethnicities, physical abilities or attributes, religions, sexual orientations, or gender identities/expression.