As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol can kill just as easily as narcotics (e.g. heroin), barbiturates (downers), or other sedatives.
Too many college students say they wish they had sought medical treatment for a friend who died of alcohol overdose. Many friends end up feeling responsible for alcohol-related tragedies that could have easily been prevented.
A Medical Emergency
The University recognizes that the fear of potential disciplinary action by the University might create a barrier to or inhibit students from seeking emergency medical assistance for themselves or others when alcohol overdose is suspected. In order to remove that barrier, the University has instituted the Alcohol Medical Emergency Call for Help (AMECH) program.
Alcohol Medical Emergency Call for Help (AMECH)
What Happens When You Get An Alcohol Overdose?
With high-risk drinking, the concentration of alcohol in the brain becomes high enough to depress the areas of the brain responsible for consciousness and respiration. As a result, the drinker can lapse into a coma, stop breathing, and die.
Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as the gag reflex, which prevents choking. Since alcohol irritates the stomach, people who drink an excessive amount often vomit. Without a properly functioning gag reflex, there is a risk of choking on vomit, which could kill an unconscious person.
A person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while passed out as alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream. Assuming the person will "sleep it off" is dangerous. Other common myths about sobering up include drinking black coffee, taking a cold bath or shower, or walking it off. It's important to know that none of these factors will help a person sober up and they have the potential to cause more harm than good. The only thing that can help a person sober up is time.