How to help someone who may have alcohol poisoning or drug overdose  

  • Person is asleep & cannot be awakened 
  • Breathing is slow or irregular
  • Skin/lips are cold, clammy, pale or bluish
  • Vomiting while passed out
  • If someone with alcohol poisoning is left untreated, they can suffer from hypothermia, heart beats and breathing can become irregular or stop, low blood sugar (leads to seizures), severe dehydration.
  • Alcohol overdose can cause irreversible brain damage.
  • Trust your instincts!
  • Turn the person on their side to prevent choking while vomiting.
  • Do not leave them alone or let them “sleep it off”
  • Call 911 immediately. It is free for an ambulance to come check someone out and see if they are okay. UCSB prioritizes medical matters over legal matters, so do not hesitate to call for help.
  • Stay calm.

How to help someone who has a pattern of drinking/using too much

If you know a friend that has a pattern of drinking or using too much you can help them by telling them you are concerned. It may be helpful to get support and talk to someone about your options. For a free and confidential appointment with an alcohol and other drug counselor, call (805) 893-5013.

  1. Create the right environment for moderate drinking
    "No more than 4-5 drinks in a day"
  2. Consequences are important! Don’t let anyone use being drunk or loaded as a reason not to suffer appropriate consequences for their behavior. Don’t bend the rules or cover up.
  3. Say something! The worst thing you can do for an alcohol/drug abuser is to say nothing. No matter what happens, if you say something, you are a success.
  4. Don’t be discouraged! You are planting seeds for the future.
  1. Be sure there is a pattern of alcohol/drug abuse before approaching the individual. One incident doesn’t mean there is a problem.
  2. Document. Try to be aware of and make mental or written notes about instances when an individual abuses alcohol/drugs and what the negative consequences are.
  3. Timing is important. Do not approach an individual if he/she is drunk or loaded. Talk to the individual as soon as possible after an incident or abuse, preferably when the individual is still physically down or the negative aspects are still fresh in his/her mind.
  4. Your attitude is important. Make sure you are in the right frame of mind. The best attitude is one of friendly concern.
  5. Avoid labeling! Do not put the person on the defensive by calling him/her a "drunk," a "jerk," a "lush," etc. Talk non-judgmentally about what you see happening.
  6. Stay in the present! Talk about what you see happening right now and the consequences occurring right now. Avoid talk of future possibilities or imaginary consequences.
  7. Offer facts – be specific! People can argue with opinions, but facts speak for themselves. (This is where documentation is helpful).

The following warning signs can signify a possible problem with alcohol/drugs:

  • Family History
  • High Tolerance
  • Blackouts
  • Negative Consequences
  • Denial
  • Drinking to feel normal
  • Difficulty Studying
  • Avoidance Behavior Changes
  • Can’t Predict Behavior
  • Obsessed with Control.

If you have a friend who exhibits these signs feel free to make a free and confidential appointment with one of our ADP Behavioral Health Therapists by calling: (805) 893-5013 or emailing