How to Help a Friend

by Katie Bogusz on February 28, 2017

Friendships are an important part of our lives.  We look to our friends to have fun and make us happy, but it’s also important to know when to help a friend who is having a hard time or is put in a dangerous situation.  Sometime it’s hard to know what to say to those we are close with because we don’t want to hurt their feelings or upset them.  In the end your friend will thank you for helping them do what’s right!

When a Friend is too Intoxicated to Drive…

If you are hosting a party and know that people are drinking make it clear that those who drink will not be able to drive home.  Take a basket and collect everyone’s keys or tell everyone that they should sleep over.  Let your guests know about public transportation, cab companies, or ride sharing apps they can access on their phone to get a sober ride home.  Provide food and non-alcoholic drinks for people.

If your friend has already been drinking and tries to leave, approach them and tell them they cannot drive because they are intoxicated.  Be non-confrontational and talk slowly and clearly because the person is already impaired.  Try and enlist the help of friends to persuade the person not to drive home.  Ask your friend to stay the night or have them call their parent(s) or a sober friend for a ride home.

How much will your next round cost you? #DontDrinkAndDrive #Alcohol #RoadSafety:

When a Friend has Alcohol poisoning…

How to spot alcohol poisoning:

  • Person is passed out, and cannot be awakened.
  • Person has cold, clammy or bluish skin color.
  • Person has slow or irregular breaths.
  • Person is vomiting and does not wake up.

If any of these symptoms exist call for help immediately.  You can do so by calling 9-1-1 or contacting your RA if you live on campus.

If you are with a friend who is intoxicated and you would like to keep them safe do the following:

  • Take them to a safe place.
  • Do not leave them alone, monitor breathing.
  • Turn your friend on his/her side to prevent choking.
  • Check for signs of alcohol poisoning.

To avoid consuming too much alcohol on any one occasion:

  • Know standard drink sizes.
  • Track how much you’ve been drinking.
  • Pace your alcohol intake.

Even though you may be nervous about getting yourself or your friend in trouble, it’s important to always get help immediately if you’re with someone who has alcohol poisoning.  Different people experience different effects of alcohol and there are no absolutes when it comes to alcohol poisoning.  If a large amount of alcohol is in a person’s system it can result in unconsciousness.  This causes the heart and lung to be slowed to the point of stopping.  It is dangerous to assume a person will just sleep it off.  People may pass out before all of the alcohol reaches the brain.  When in doubt, call for emergency assistance.

Do you know what to do to help someone suffering from alcohol poisoning?:

Learn More:

Learning how to help a friend can be a difficult and painful process in any of the above situations but in the end your friend will be grateful.  If you would like to learn more about any of the topics discusses in this article please feel free to visit https://my.bridgew.edu/departments/OutreachEducation/SitePages/BE%20SMART%20Tips.aspx to get more information on drinking safety.  The counseling center and Outreach Education professional staff will be offering free alcohol screenings to uncover problematic drinking behavior on Thursday April 6th from 11AM-2PM in the ECC Lobby and RCC Lower Foyer for students to access.  If you, or your friend, feel more comfortable accessing the screening online please visit, http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/collegeresponse.  To learn more about Outreach Education as well as the BSU Peer Educators: like the BSU Outreach Education page on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @bsuoutreach, and check out our calendar for upcoming events on the Involvement (IN) Network by visiting  https://bridgew.collegiatelink.net/ and search for the BSU Peer Educators.

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