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Recognizing Alcohol Overdose/Poisoning

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning and Overdose

Be Wise. Know your C.U.P.S.


Cold Skin
Alcohol affects parts of the brain that maintain a healthy body temperature. Too much alcohol can stop this part of the brain from working and can cause your organs to shut down. People with alcohol poisoning can be cold to the touch.

When a person has consumed so much alcohol that they can’t function normally, they may not be able to respond to anything. It’s like alcohol anesthesia.

Alcohol poisoning causes people to puke. Puking won’t lower a person’s BAC, but it can make a person even more dehydrated. Alcohol also inhibits a person’s gag reflex. This might make a person choke on their own vomit or breathe it into their lungs.

Slow Breathing
Alcohol also affects the part of the brain that regulates breathing. Breaths can become slow, shallow and irregular. A person may even have fewer than eight breaths per minute. If a person isn’t breathing enough, they aren’t getting enough oxygen to their brain.

C.U.P.S. was developed by Syracuse University

What to do:

  • We are all Volunteers. We look out for each other
  • Stay calm and use your judgment
  • Call 911 immediately
  • Stay with them
  • Try to wake them
  • Keep them lying on their side
  • Do not give food or force fluids
  •  If they can respond, ask about number of drinks, any health conditions, allergies, medications, etc



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