Alcohol Poisoning

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Goal and Rationale

The goal of this presentation, “Alcohol Poisoning”, from our teens/young adults series is to teach teens and young adults what alcohol poisoning is, how alcohol poisoning can be dangerous, and how they can make the right choices when it comes to identifying and rejecting alcohol.

By the end of this activity, we hope that students will be able to:

  • Define what alcohol poisoning is.
  • Explain how alcohol poisoning can be dangerous.
  • Determine the different symptoms of alcohol poisoning.
  • Consider the short and long-term effects that alcohol poisoning can have on people.
  • Brainstorm the different ways that alcohol poisoning can impact them and their bodies.

Suggested procedure for educators

** Editing the presentation is not permitted. When opening the PowerPoint, click on read-only. **

Slide 1: Present the subject that will be covered in this presentation.

Slide 2: Read the definition of alcohol poisoning.

Slide 3: Go over the symptoms presented.

Slide 4: Go over the symptoms presented. Ask them what they could do if they see someone who drank a lot of alcohol sleeping to check for these symptoms. Examples of answers: See if they wake up by yelling, check their breathing and measure it against time, check how cold they are, etc.

Slide 5: Read the sentence. Click.
Explain what heavy drinking is for males and females. Click.
Explain what a standard drink is:
12 ounces of beer (a bottle).
8-9 ounces of malt liquor. 5 ounces of wine.
1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor (like vodka, rum, tequila, etc.), a shot is around 1.5 ounces.

Slide 6: Go over the factors presented.

Slide 7: Pause your presentation to ask students the following questions to make sure they understand what has been covered so far:

Answer: Alcohol poisoning, also known as alcohol overdose, is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a person consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short time. Their body is unable to process the alcohol that fast, which causes blood alcohol levels to increase.

Answer: Some symptoms include: confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute), irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths), blue-tinged or pale skin, and low body temperature (hypothermia).

Answer: As a gauge, a pattern of heavy drinking is when a male rapidly consumes five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours, or a female rapidly consumes at least four drinks within two hours.

Answer: Some factors include: Your body size and weight, how healthy you are in general, whether or not you’ve had a meal lately, if you’ve taken any other drugs along with alcohol, how strong the drinks you’re having are, how quickly you’re drinking and how much you’re having, and how much you’re used to drinking, your tolerance level.

After discussing these questions with your students, resume the presentation by telling them that you’re now going to go over the prevention side of alcohol poisoning.

Slide 8: Go over the first thing to do if someone has alcohol poisoning.

Slide 9: Go over the things to do if the person is still conscious or if you can wake them up.

Slide 10: Go over the things to do if the person is not conscious and isn’t waking up.

Slide 11: Explain that we’ll go over the recovery position. Click.

Step 1: Put the arm that is closest to you at a 90-degree angle at the level of the elbow. Click.

Step 2: Take the hand furthest from you and put it on the cheek closest to you. Click.

Step 3: Grab the outside of the knee furthest from you, and bring the knee up. Holding that knee, pull them towards you to turn them on their side. Make sure to provide support for their head by keeping your hand on their cheek (in Step 2) as you turn them over. Click.

Step 4: Once the person is turned over, use the bent knee to stabilize them. Ensure that their head is turned over enough, so they won’t choke on their tongue or vomit while unconscious.

Slide 12: Go over what not to do if someone has alcohol poisoning.

Slide 13: Go over the steps to take to avoid or prevent alcohol poisoning in the first step. Here is some additional information to tell them.

Set your limit before you start: Think about what you have planned for tomorrow, like early classes or sports competitions. Drinking too much can slow down your thinking and affect your performance.

Eating food (especially protein) before and while drinking. This slows down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.

Drink a large glass of water between drinks. It will keep you hydrated throughout and also slow down your drinking.

Slide 14: Go over the steps to take to avoid or prevent alcohol poisoning in the first step. Here is some additional information to tell them.

Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs. Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs, like antihistamines and sedatives, can make the effects of alcohol stronger.

Avoid using caffeine and stimulants. It can trick you into feeling less drunk and get you to drink more than you should.

Avoid “mega” drinks. They can contain five or more times the alcohol of a standard drink. Avoid drinking games: They encourage you to drink a lot quickly, which can lead to dangerous levels of drunkenness and memory loss. Plus, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve had when you’re focused on the game.

The presentation is over. Ask students the following questions to make sure they understand what has been covered in the second part.

Answer: Get them medical help right away. Call 911 or take them to the hospital as soon as possible. When calling 911, make sure to relay all information (what the person had, if they’re conscious, breathing, etc.) and listen to their instructions. Stay with them, because there’s a risk they could choke on their vomit or stop breathing. Sit them up if they’re awake or put them in the recovery position if they’ve passed out, and check that they’re breathing properly. Keep them warm by giving them a jacket or blanket.

Answer: Don’t let them drink more alcohol. Don’t give them caffeine, it will dehydrate them further. Don’t put them in a cold shower or bath. This could cause them to get too cold or fall and get hurt. Don’t try to make them vomit. This could make things worse.

Answer: Some steps include: Setting your limit before you start. Eating food (especially protein) before and while drinking. Drink a large glass of water between drinks. Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs. Avoid using caffeine and stimulants. Avoid “mega” drinks (Long Island Iced Tea, AMF, Margaritas, or Kamikazes). Avoid drinking games.

Once your students have answered questions 1-7, proceed to a large group discussion using the thematic questions below. Depending on the grade level or age group of your students, you can expect this entire activity including the presentation to take between 20-30 minutes.

Discussion questions

Note: the sample answers below represent potential correct answers and can be used to facilitate deeper discussion with your students.

Answers will vary but could include: that alcohol poisoning is an overdose of alcohol that can kill us, and we need to be aware of the different things that can lead us to overconsume alcohol.

Answers will vary but could include: things we should do include staying with them because there’s a risk they could choke on their vomit or stop breathing and sitting them up if they’re awake or put them in the recovery position if they’ve passed out, and check that they’re breathing properly. Things we shouldn’t do include not letting them drink more alcohol. Do not give them coffee or drinks with caffeine. Do not put them in a cold shower or bath.

Answers will vary but could include: anxiety, determination, confusion, fear, sadness, uncertainty, pride, excitement, and/or hope.

Answers will vary but could include: that alcohol poisoning can happen to any of us, that it only takes four or five drinks before it can happen, that factors like how fast you are drinking, what kinds of drinks you are drinking, and we need to pay attention to those factors to protect ourselves.

Answers will vary but could include: this video helped me understand that alcohol poisoning is way more dangerous and common than I thought, I think I will wait to drink alcohol until I am older and more mature.

Note: Teachers, please have your students share their feedback with us using the form linked below, we want to continue to make our message stronger and more effective. Thanks!

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