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Each year we read about tragic stories of college students who drink excessively during their first few weeks of freedom at college. Sometimes it’s a hazing incident in which an individual is encouraged to drink a lot of alcohol to prove himself to a new fraternity, or just someone who hasn’t experienced the effects of alcohol before and doesn’t know when to stop. Unfortunately, there are nearly 80,000 people who die every year from consuming far too much alcohol. Alcohol poisoning is essentially what happens when your bodily functions begin shutting down due to the excessive amount of alcohol in your body. It is the result of drinking too much, too quickly and can potentially lead to coma and death.

In the college environment, freshman seem to be at the highest risk possibly because they are own for the first time and are excited and willing to try new things. Also, individuals turning 21 will sometimes play alcohol related games like take “21 shots”, or try 21 different drinks. When someone has alcohol poisoning, they might show some of the following signs:

- Unresponsive or unconscious

- Shallow or short breathing

- Hypothermia, or a low body temperature

- A very low pulse rate (which is under 50)

- Excessive vomiting (which is usually the first sign of alcohol poisoning and the body's attempt to purge the excessive alcohol that can't be filtered)

- Seizures

If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, don't just assume they'll sleep it off. Often people who drink too much will pass out, but putting them to bed is not the safest answer. If you are aware that someone has had too much to drink, be responsible and take pre-cautionary steps immediately to ensure they'll be okay and reduce their risk of death.

First and foremost, make sure that the person who is unconscious or unresponsive is not laying down face up. Turn their head to the side to reduce the risk of vomiting and drowning in their vomit if they're laying face up. Call emergency services if you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning. The sooner emergency help arrives to someone, the better chance they have of getting rid of the alcohol content inside their system.

If you find yourself enjoying the drinking scene at college a bit too much. If you are waking up with hangovers, having blackouts or are craving the time when you can have your next drink, then you may have an addiction problem. Get your life under control before you end up failing out of school, getting in an accident or causing harm to yourself physically. Try taking online alcohol and drug awareness classes to become educated about the risks and consequences of drinking alcohol and taking drugs. These classes are low in cost and are completely private. You can take them from the convenience of your own computer at any time of the day or night. No one needs to know that you are using this support tool to help stay sober. If you do have questions, make sure you are taking a class from a licensed and practicing therapist that you can call for further help.