The truth about alcohol poisoning and how to keep your friends safe
By Haley Pritchett
How much is a life worth?
This is not often a question students ask while they are out partying on the weekends, but maybe it should be.
One night senior Kendall Hovis, a former Resident Assistant, walked into a lounge and found a student passed out in a chair. Someone had brought the resident back from a party and just left him there. Alone.
His alcohol levels were so high he was near death. When Hovis approached the student, he was exhibiting signs of alcohol poisoning. Eventually, the student was taken to the hospital. If it had not been for Hovis’s intervention, he could’ve died.
Although the student should’ve been more responsible with drinking, there is also something to be said for the friends who abandoned him in the lounge.
When someone has alcohol poisoning, it is frightening. Director of Security Steve Leonard said when you are a witness you must use good judgment, even if you are intoxicated yourself.
It is better to be prepared for these types of situations than trying to figure it out while it’s happening. First, it is important to understand the signs someone will show when they have alcohol poisoning. Some signs include mental confusion, vomiting while sleeping, seizures or irregular breathing.
If any of these things occur, call 9-1-1 immediately, and then notify the Franklin College security officer on duty. They can be contacted for extra help at 317-738-8888.
If students do not see any of these signs but are still nervous and want a second opinion, they are encouraged to call the security officer on duty for assistance. Hovis also said that RAs can be helpful in these situations because they are trained for this.
If students are intoxicated themselves and under 21, they should not let the fear of getting in trouble keep them from helping. In Indiana, the LifeLine Law protects underage individuals from crimes such as public intoxication or underage consumption when they bring in law enforcement to help save a friend’s life during a crisis.
Although Franklin College does not have a similar policy, Leonard is confident it should not be a barrier for students.
“Our message is to always call to get someone help,” Leonard said. “It’s very unlikely that someone is going to be held accountable for violating college policy if they, in a good faith effort, were attempting to help a friend that was in need.”
Leonard pushes that students should always call when they are in doubt of someone’s overall safety.
“I would rather have a false alarm than my friend not wake up the next morning,” he said.
Leonard acknowledges that alcohol is the drug of choice on every college campus and that some students choose to drink when they are not yet 21-years-old.
“We don’t want that to happen, but we know that it does,” Leonard said. “So, when it does, we want students to make responsible good choices about alcohol consumption, whether they are 21 or not.”
Leonard recommended some tips to avoid alcohol overdose. Limiting the number of drinks, avoiding shots, and consuming beverages at a slow pace are all tactics that can help you avoid danger.
But perhaps most important, we should remember alcohol poisoning can happen to anyone around you. Be responsible, be safe.