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Alcohol Poisoning - Beloit College


									                                                                                                               Alcohol Poisoning—Save Your Friends
                                                                                                                                                                 Laura Bayle
                                                                                                                                                                Beloit College
                                                                                                                                                                                                     What Alcohol Poisoning is:
                                                                                                                                                                                                 “Alcohol poisoning is characterized by the consumption of too much alcohol, too fast.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                     The Effects:
      Alcohol poisoning is a widespread national problem to which college students are particularly susceptible. The                                                              BAC continues to rise even after stop drinking or after unconscious. Alcohol poisoning can lead
National Institute of Health-sponsored website,, reported that last year alone 1,700 college                                                                to Hypoglycemia which leads to seizures, and untreated severe dehydration from vomiting can cause permanent brain damage,
students died due to alcohol-related incidents. Many of these deaths were due to alcohol poisoning. As the number of                                                                      or death.
students at Beloit College who must be transported to the hospital for alcohol-related incidents rises (according to John
Winkelmann), knowing how to combat this problem is vital to the safety and health of students. This symposium is a                                                                        --high intake of alcohol can result in unconsciousness and excessive vomiting—particularly these two things together can be very
                                                                                                                                                                                          dangerous and result in death if the unconscious person vomits and then inhales, causing them to choke.
presentation of research done on the effects and dangers of alcohol poisoning, what steps can be taken to avoid it
altogether, and what a friend can do to help someone who is suffering from alcohol poisoning. This presentation provides                                                         alcohol poisoning can cause impairment of the gag reflex (making it easier for one to choke on their vomit), severe
information that is of practical use to Beloit College students in terms of detailing simple techniques to help students drink                                                            dehydration, coma, permanent and lethal lung damage can be caused by alcohol poisoning should vomit be inhaled into the lungs,
responsibly and avoid the dangers of alcohol poisoning, what the short-term and long-term effects of alcohol poisoning                     The Bacchus Maneuver                           respiratory and cardiac impairment which can result in shut down of respiratory and circulatory functions, resulting in death.
can be, as well as a step-by-step outline of what needs to be done to prevent the death of someone who has become                                                                         How to Recognize it:
poisoned by alcohol.                                                                                                         1. Raise the person's closest arm above his head. Prepare to
                                                                                                                                  roll him / her towards you.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Signs of someone suffering from alcohol poisoning: “Confusion, stupor, vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular
                                                                                                                                                                                                     breathing, blue-tinged skin or pale skin, hypothermia, unconsciousness.” (Note that you should not wait for all of these symptoms to
                                                      INTRODUCTION                                                                                                                                   be present before taking action to prevent someone’s death from alcohol poisoning.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                     What to Do:
      Alcohol poisoning is a widespread national problem to which college students are particularly susceptible. The                                                                         call Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222. They can instruct you as to whether or not you should bring someone to
National Institute of Health-sponsored website, reported that last year alone 1,700                                                                                    the hospital. Note: this step should only be considered if the person in question is still conscious. Also: “never leave an unconscious
college students died due to alcohol-related incidents. Many of these deaths were due to alcohol poisoning. College                                                                                  person alone.”
students know too little about the dangers they face when they take part in drinking games that force too much                    2. Gently roll as a unit. Guard his / her head as you roll him /
                                                                                                                                                                                                 the Bacchus Maneuver is very helpful. This is used to help position an unconscious person in a manner
alcohol on their systems too quickly. According to, alcohol poisoning is due to the “consumption of                                                                                  where they won’t inhale their vomit. It should be used while waiting for help to arrive (see figures to the left).
too much alcohol too fast.” When students decide to take multiple shots of alcohol, chug beer, or drink themselves
into an unconscious state, they are forcing their blood alcohol level (BAC) to rise rapidly causing their breathing to
slow, their gag reflex to weaken, and their mental processes to become more sluggish ( Even after                                                                             You cannot counteract effects of alcohol or alcohol poisoning through drinking black coffee, or
they stop drinking their blood alcohol level can continue to rise due to the excessive amount of alcohol already                                                                                     taking a cold shower. BAC levels can only be lowered over time.
consumed, thus causing these students to become progressively more drunk without them realizing it                                                                                             Moderation! Drink a little at a time for a longer period of time. Your BAC level will rise at a slower pace if you
( The toxicity of their blood can become such that their respiratory and motor functions fail to work                                                                                drink one drink per hour versus 5 drinks in an hour. Additionally, you should:
properly and they become a danger to themselves and others. Alcohol poisoning can even cause respiratory and                      3. Tilt head to maintain airway. Tuck nearest hand under
mental functions to fail altogether resulting in death if these students are not monitored by their friends who—                  cheek to help maintain head tilt.                                  --Watch/keep track of how many drinks you take
recognizing the signs of alcohol poisoning—can seek immediate medical help.                                                                                                                          --Be mindful of your friends. Do not leave them alone at parties.
       According to John Winkelmann, in the last year Beloit College has experienced a rise in alcohol-related incidents                                                                             --Do not be afraid to call Security or 911 for emergency help for a friend. Better to be safe than sorry.
in which students needed to be transported to the hospital. In order to combat this rise in dangerous alcohol usage
the College must arm its students with the knowledge with which to keep themselves and their friends safe. With a
rise in medical-related alcohol incidents there is a corresponding rise in chance that the next incident could be fatal.
Students must be informed of what to do to avoid becoming a victim of alcohol poisoning, as well as what to do if their           4. Check him / her often.                                                                                                   CONCLUSIONS
friend becomes poisoned. Further education on this matter is needed, and that is what this presentation intends to
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Beloit College should provide further information to students about the possibility of alcohol poisoning and the steps
                                                            METHODOLOGY                                                                                                                          that should be taken to prevent it from happening, as well as prevent it from being lethal. Posters or fliers displaying
                                                                                                                                                                                                 how to do the Bacchus Method could be posted around campus—particularly in places where high alcohol is likely to
                                                                                                                                                                                                 occur (i.e. C-Haus, fraternities, sororities, dormitories). More could be done to emphasize the dangers of alcohol
 I researched several credible sources (including Nutritional journals, and public health websites) in order to gain a perspective                                                               poisoning during first-year welcome week—skits, how-to seminars on saving friends who have become poisoned by
 on the scope and effects of this problem and how it can be prevented. Through the synthesis of these sources have gained a                                                                      alcohol, etc. The dangers of alcohol should be continually discussed throughout all classes at Beloit—it is not just
 knowledgeable viewpoint on what the best course of action is that a college student can take to prevent or save a friend                                                                        First-Years that are affected by the harmful effects of over-consumption of alcohol.
 suffering from alcohol poisoning.

           Adinoff B., Bone G.H., Linnoila M. “Acute Ethanol Poisoning and the Ethanol Withdrawal Syndrome.” Medline 3(3):172-96 (1988)
           J Soterakis and FL Iber. “Increased rate of alcohol removal from blood with oral fructose and sucrose.” Am J Clin Nutr, 28: 254-257 (1975)
            “Alcohol Poisoning.”
           “Diseases and Conditions: Alcohol Poisoning.”
           “Facts About Alcohol Poisoning.” College Drinking—Changing the Culture.

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