Alcohol poisoning is usually caused by binge drinking

Binge drinking

The consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. Guideline is to have no more than 2 drinks a day (per occasion)

Binge drinking can lead to difficulty concentrating, problems with memory, mood changes, and alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning

affects the body’s involuntary reflexes – including breathing and the gag reflex, as well as the bloodstream. If the gag reflex isn’t working right, a person can choke to death on his or her own vomit.

~ Dowshen, S. (Ed.). (2016). Binge Drinking. Underage Drinking, (2017).  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Signs of alcohol poisoning may include:

  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • passing out or inability to awaken the person
  • slow breathing- fewer than 8 breaths a minute
  • irregular breathing- 10 seconds or more between breaths
  • cold, clammy skin that looks bluish or pale

What to do if you see someone who may have alcohol poisoning:

  • Stay calm
  • Call 911 for help
  • Try to keep the person awake
  • If you cannot wake them, roll them onto their side (the recovery position) so they don’t choke and suffocate if they vomit
  • Do not leave them alone. Stay with them until help arrives.

How to prevent this situation:

The best way to prevent alcohol poisoning is to limit how much alcohol you are consuming. Before drinking, decide how many drinks you will have and stick to your limit. If you see a friend who is drinking too much or too fast, try to help by suggesting they drink water or limit how much they are drinking.

Here are some tips to prevent alcohol poisoning:

  • drink slowly: alternate between drinks that contain alcohol and non-alcohol beverages
  • drink lots of water before and while drinking
  • eat first: never drink on an empty stomach
  • avoid “shots” and drinking games: these can encourage binge drinking

It’s important to remember that if you think that someone has alcohol poisoning, seek medical help or call 911 right away. The quicker they get help, the better their chances for recovery.

Source: › conditions › alcohol-poisoning

Alcohol use –

AHS AMH Helpline 211

Alcohol and Drug Problems: Alcohol Overdose (

Alcohol poisoning: Hey, are you ok? (poster) –

Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, Public Summary: Drinking Less Is Better (

Alberta Wide – Addiction Helpline | Alberta Health Services

Based on Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health – Drinking less is better

We now know that even a small amount of alcohol can be damaging to health.

Drinking alcohol, even a small amount, is damaging to everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, tolerance for alcohol or lifestyle.