Substance Danger Signs
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol overdose is serious. Left untreated, an alcohol overdose (a.k.a. alcohol poisoning) can cause a person to stop breathing, have a seizure, choke or suffocate on their own vomit, suffer brain damage, or die.
Review the warning signs below and don’t hesitate to call for help. Students who assist others in an emergency and those in need of assistance generally face no disciplinary action for their own infractions – even if alcohol or other drugs are involved. See AMNESTY for more information
When using Red Bull or Monster as a mixer, your body is tricked into thinking it is not tired. Your body is more intoxicated than you may feel, which can lead to increased risk for alcohol poisoning. Energy drinks also increase risk of dehydration, which leads to hangovers the next day. Combining alcohol and energy drinks are linked to increased risk of blackout, injury, need for medical attention, and sexual and physical violence.
Prescription Drug Abuse Signs
- Taking more of a prescription medication than prescribed
- Taking a prescription medication for a different reason than prescribed
- Sharing or taking someone else’s prescription medication
A drug overdose occurs when a person takes more than the medically recommended amount of a drug for their particular body. Each person has a different body type and mental health, so drugs may interact differently for each person. Warning signs include:
- Won’t Wake Up
- If the person is unresponsive, try nudging them or gently pinching their arm. Whether using stimulants or depressants, if someone passes out and will not wake up, it is a warning sign for drug overdose.
- Abnormal Temperature
- Stimulants increase temperature. If the person’s skin feels very warm to the touch or they are sweating profusely in otherwise normal conditions, it is a warning sign for drug overdose.
- Depressants (alcohol) decrease temperature. If the person’s skin feels cool to the touch in otherwise normal conditions, it is a warning sign for drug overdose.
- Abnormal Breathing
- Stimulants (cocaine, Adderall) speed up breathing. If the person is breathing faster than usual or they seem to be short of breath, it is a warning sign for drug overdose.
- Depressants slow down breathing. Less than 13 breaths per minute or more than 8 seconds between breaths is considered slow breathing and is a warning sign for drug overdose.
- Pale Skin Color
- Stimulants make skin flushed. Flushed or reddish skin is a warning sign for a drug overdose.
- Depressants make skin pale. If the person’s skin looks paler than usual, they have bluish lips or sweaty/cool skin, it is a warning sign for drug overdose.
- Abnormal Pulse
- Stimulants increase pulse. A person overdosing on a stimulant may report a racing heart or chest pains. These are warning signs for drug overdose. Depressants decrease pulse.
- Place the tips of your index and second fingers on their lower neck, on either side of their wind- pipe. Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply this number by 6. If lower than 60, it is a warning sign for drug overdose.