The Deadly Truth About Alcohol Poisoning


On average, six Americans die everyday due to alcohol poisoning resulting in about 2,200 deaths each year.

Annika Nakasone, a 21 year-old Boulder resident said, “When I was in high school I definitely saw and had a lot of alcohol poisoning. My drinking just dramatically decreased. It’s not fun anymore, I go to the bars once in awhile now.”

Alcohol poisoning happens when someone drinks too much in a short amount of time. This is also known as binge drinking. The binge drinker’s bloodstream is flooded with alcohol which affects things like breathing, heart rate and body temperature. This can lead to a coma, hypothermia and even death.

Nakasone credits college-aged binge drinking rates being higher than any other age group to pressures students can experience, “There’s all these new pressures, especially at frats, to be number one. Take the most shots. And to be the cool girl who can keep up with the guys or even out drink the guys.”

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Other factors such as independence from family and alcohol being much more accessible also contribute to these higher binge drinking ratings.

Many people binge drink without even knowing they’re binge drinking. When females consume four or more servings of alcohol within a two hour timeframe and males, five or more servings, it is considered binge drinking.

The widespread lack of knowledge on what a true serving of alcohol really is also contributes to people engaging in binge drinking. A serving of alcohol is either 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

Preventing alcohol poisoning is simple if you know what to do. Nakasone told NewsTeam Boulder that knowing your surroundings and being around people who are responsible also help curb the potential of experiencing alcohol poisoning. Spacing out your drinks, staying hydrated and keeping track of how much you’ve consumed also helps.

The university works around the clock to make sure its students are as educated as possible about the dangers of alcohol.

“We have coordinated with residents’ life to make sure that we have magnets on the back of all the stall doors in the resident halls that talk about what the signs of alcohol poisoning are as well as how to put someone in the recovery position and call for help,” said Kathryn Dailey, the Assistant Director of Health Promotion at the university.

A common fear amongst underaged college students is that they’ll get both them and their friend in trouble if they call for help. This results in students having their friends “sleep it off” which can sometimes lead to death.

To encourage students to call for help without the fear of being punished both CU Boulder and the city have something in place to protect those who get their friends help whether they’re underaged or not.
Nakasone said that if she knew about the good samaritan law while she was in high school her and her friends could have had nights that went a lot better.

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