Students that choose to drink should know that the so-called positive effects of alcohol, like the stimulant effects of a slight buzz, are related to a low but rising blood alcohol level.

Some college students think more alcohol is better, but the truth is that if you want to get a slight buzz, enjoy the social setting or enjoy the taste of alcohol, then you should keep your blood alcohol content (BAC) at .05 or below.
To maintain a good buzz, you should drink slowly and moderately, not exceeding a BAC of .05, because the initial, stimulated phase of alcohol is quickly followed by a depressant phase, which will leave you feeling tired and with a hangover or worse.

If you want to drink responsibly, keep your BAC at .05 and below.


Unfortunately, students are not always responsible when they imbibe alcohol, and alcohol poisoning can occur when someone consumes more alcohol than the body can metabolize in a healthy manner.

Drinking games, "chugging" or "guzzling" alcohol, hazing rituals and high proof alcohol drinks often lead to alcohol poisoning. Alcohol consumption combined with some types of medication may also lead to accidental overdose and alcohol poisoning.

Severe cases of alcohol poisoning can lead to respiratory failure, coma and ultimately death, so it is important for all students to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning so they can get help if a friend or peer over-drinks. The signs include:

  • Unconsciousness or semiconsciousness
  • Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin.
  • Slow respiration (breaths of eight or less per minute) or lapses of more than eight seconds between breaths.
  • Vomiting while "sleeping" or passed out and not waking up after vomiting.
  • Lack of knowledge about the date, time or surroundings.

If a person has any of these symptoms, it is important for you to call 911 immediately.

While waiting for emergency transport, gently turn the intoxicated person on his/her side and maintain that position by placing a pillow in the small of the person's back. This is important to prevent aspiration (choking) should the person vomit. Stay with the person until medical help arrives.

A person who is vomiting from too much alcohol needs to be evaluated by a medically trained professional. Never leave a person alone. Call for help as soon as possible.
Do not try to give the person anything to eat or drink, as this increases the risk of the person choking.

When the ambulance crew arrives, answer any questions to the best of your ability. Gather information about what the person had to eat and drink and if the person is taking any medications.

Remember that it's better to be safe than sorry. Take action immediately. The HWS policy encourages you to make the call to campus safety and protects both the caller and the person needing assistance. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol. A person suffering from alcohol poisoning will not necessarily exhibit all of the symptoms described.


On campus: 3333
Off campus: 911



Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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