More people die from overdose – including alcohol poisoning – than car accidents or gun violence. Everyone knows drinking and drug use can get real dangerous, but not everyone recognizes when a friend needs real help. That, plus the fear of getting in trouble, prevents too many young people from getting the emergency medical attention that could save a life.
What Can You Do?
Pro Tip: Putting someone in the shower to “sober them up” is NOT it (it’s actually really dangerous and could send someone with alcohol poisoning into shock.)
Step One: Get your facts straight and make sure your friends do the same – after all, what if you’re the one relying on someone to make the call and get help for you some day!
Step Two: Talk with your friends and make a pact to have each others’ backs. In the case someone every really, really slips up, agree to call a trusted adult and/or 911. We can’t promise you won’t get grounded, but you could save a life.
Step One: Get Your Facts Straight
Know how to identify the signs of alcohol poisoning:
1. Try to wake them up. Call their name, shake them, pinch their skin. If they don’t respond, CALL 911! 2. Check their skin. If his or her skin is pale or bluish, or is cold or clammy, CALL 911! 3. Check their breathing. If it is irregular, or very slow/shallow, CALL 911!
Even when medical danger is suspected, there are a lot of myths and misinformation that can get in the way of calling for help. Check yourself to make sure you don’t make the wrong call.
A friend who was drinking has passed out. Let them sleep it off?
That would never be me. I can hold my liquor.
Turning 21 is a rite of passage (i.e. you aren't doing it right unless you drink A LOT).
If you call an ambulance, the cops will also show up.
Let your friends know you’d rather risk getting grounded than risk their lives. Promise you’ll get help and have their backs in case someone ever really, really slips up and is showing signs of alcohol poisoning or overdose.
What makes it official? Sharing it with the world, obvi. Take a pic that shows how you’ve got each other’s backs (literally), post it with the hashtag #GotYourBack (bonus points for incorporating an ATI arrow) and share it here to prove it.
The #GotYourBack action campaign was inspired by Shelby Allen, and others like her, whose life was tragically cut short by alcohol poisoning after a night of binge drinking. You can read Shelby and her family’s story here.