Healthy living

When things go wrong with alcohol

Things can still go wrong even when you plan your night out.

There are lots of factors that can contribute to drunkenness. Some of these factors include:

  • being inexperienced with drinking alcohol
  • strength of alcohol and the drink serving size
  • low tolerance to alcohol
  • lack of knowledge of the effects of alcohol
  • mixing alcohol and/or other drugs
  • the environment (a hot nightclub, at the beach)
  • how fast alcohol is consumed
  • physical, mental or emotional health.

If someone becomes unwell or collapses it is very important to treat it as an emergency and get help immediately – call triple zero (000).

Don’t delay, you could save their life by getting help sooner than later.

If you are worried that you will get yourself or the person into trouble, remember that you are helping someone and later people will be thankful that you did.

The recovery position is a safe and stable position for someone who is unconscious or nearly unconscious.

Sometimes when people have too much to drink they are likely to vomit and placing them in the recovery position will help to make sure they don’t choke on their vomit.

When in the recovery position a person is in a balanced position on their side with their head supported. The recovery position ensures:

  • the airway (mouth) is open and remains open
  • drainage can occur, in case of vomiting and choking.

You may need to follow the St John Ambulance DRSABCD action plan.

Knowing what to look for and how to respond can save a life.

Where to get help

  • Call one of the Alcohol and Drug Support Service's 24 hour support lines (external site) – providing confidential counselling, information, advice and referral.
  • For emergency or life-threatening conditions, visit an emergency department or dial triple zero (000) to call an ambulance. Police are not called unless a death has occurred or ambulance officers are threatened.
  • See your doctor.
  • Visit a GP after hours.
  • Ring healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

Remember

  • Things can still go wrong even when you plan your night. Knowing what to look for and how to respond can save a life.
  • If someone becomes unwell or collapses it is very important to treat it as an emergency and get help – call 000 immediately. Remember police are not required to attend unless a death has occurred or the ambulance officers are threatened.
  • The recovery position is a safe and stable position for someone who is unconscious or nearly unconscious.

This information provided by

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Acknowledgements
Drug and Alcohol Office

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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