Heavy alcohol consumption over a short period of time
College students are some of the brightest minds in the nation. They can grasp the principles of quantum physics and appreciate the intricacies of Noam Chomsky’s political ideology. Why is it, then, that so few students seem to understand the risks they’re taking when they engage in heavy alcohol consumption?
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is generally defined as five or more drinks in a single night for men and four or more for women. In other words, it’s drinking with the purpose of getting drunk. According to studies, 40 percent of college students engage in binge drinking, and over 20 percent do it at least three times a month. Each year, 20 percent of male students take part in extreme binge drinking, consuming 10 to 20 drinks in one drinking session. Interestingly, studies have shown that college students drink less frequently than non-students of the same age, but they drink much more alcohol per session.
Binge drinking greatly increases a person’s risk of engaging in violent activity, being sexually assaulted, being hurt in an accident and dying from alcohol poisoning. As you would expect, the more you drink, the greater risk you face.
Do you know what the risks are when you leave someone alone who’s had too much to drink? Are you able to tell if your passed-out friend is sleeping off a few too many drinks or suffering from life-threatening alcohol poisoning? If you’re unsure about the answers to these questions, it’s important that you educate yourself about the signs of alcohol poisoning. It could save someone’s life.
A person suffering from alcohol poisoning will generally exhibit the following signs:
- Passed out to the point of unconsciousness - can’t be woken up.
- Cold, sweaty, pale skin.
- Slow, irregular breathing. If any two breaths have 10 or more seconds between them, the person is in serious danger.
- A slowed pulse.
- Vomiting while passed out (and not waking up because of it).
If you encounter a person whom you suspect is suffering from alcohol poisoning, immediately call 911 and request an ambulance. Don’t think of reasons why you shouldn’t call (e.g., not wanting to ruin the party). The person’s life could be at stake.
Turn the person on their stomach to reduce the chance of them choking on their own vomit (one of the most common ways people die from alcohol consumption). If their breathing stops, you may need to perform CPR. Stay with the person until the paramedics arrive.