What to Do When Someone's Passed Out Drunk

Learn what to do when someone is passed out drunk. From safety measures to providing first aid, empower yourself to take action in emergency situations.

Published On

January 3, 2024

Recognizing the Situation

When encountering someone who is unconscious from drinking, it's important to act swiftly and appropriately to ensure their safety. This section will outline the signs that someone is unconscious from drinking and provide guidance on assessing the severity of the situation.

Signs of Someone Being Unconscious from Drinking

Recognizing the signs of someone who is unconscious from drinking is crucial in providing timely help. Some common signs include:

  • Lack of responsiveness: The person is unresponsive to stimuli, such as shaking or calling their name.
  • Slow or irregular breathing: Their breathing may be shallow, slow, or irregular.
  • Pale or bluish skin: Their skin may appear pale or have a bluish tint.
  • Strong odor of alcohol: The person may have a strong smell of alcohol on their breath.

It's important to note that these signs may indicate alcohol poisoning, a potentially life-threatening condition. If you suspect alcohol poisoning, it's critical to seek immediate medical help.

Assessing the Severity of the Situation

After recognizing that someone is unconscious from drinking, it's important to assess the severity of the situation. Consider the following factors:

  • Level of responsiveness: Determine if the person is completely unresponsive or if they show any signs of responsiveness.
  • Breathing: Check if the person is breathing. If they are not breathing or their breathing is shallow and irregular, it may indicate a more severe situation.
  • Skin color: Observe the color of their skin. If it appears pale or bluish, it may indicate a lack of oxygen and require immediate medical attention.

It's important to remember that assessing the severity of the situation should be done quickly but calmly. If you are unsure about the severity or have any concerns, it's always better to err on the side of caution and seek professional medical assistance.

By recognizing the signs of someone being unconscious from drinking and assessing the severity of the situation, you can take the appropriate steps to ensure their safety and well-being. Remember, prompt action and seeking professional help are crucial when dealing with situations involving unconsciousness from alcohol consumption.

Ensuring Safety

When encountering a situation where someone is unconscious from drinking, it's crucial to prioritize safety. By taking immediate action and following the right steps, you can ensure the well-being of the individual. Here are two important measures to ensure safety:

Checking for Responsiveness

The first step is to determine if the person is responsive. Approach the individual and gently shake their shoulders while calling out to them loudly, asking if they are okay. If they do not respond, their unconscious state indicates a potentially serious situation. It's important not to assume they are simply sleeping off the effects of alcohol, as unconsciousness from drinking can be a sign of alcohol poisoning or other medical emergencies.

Moving the Person to a Safe Position

Once you have established that the person is unresponsive, it's essential to move them to a safe position. Carefully roll the individual onto their side, known as the recovery position, to prevent choking in case they vomit. Follow these steps to move them safely:

  1. Kneel beside the person and place their arm that is closest to you at a right angle.
  2. Take their other hand and place the back of it against the cheek that is farthest from you.
  3. With your other hand, gently lift their far knee while keeping their foot on the ground.
  4. Carefully roll the person towards you while supporting their head and neck, ensuring their top leg stays bent at a right angle.
  5. Adjust their hand under their cheek to keep their head tilted backward slightly, which helps maintain an open airway.

By moving the person into the recovery position, you can help prevent choking on vomit and ensure their airway remains clear. It's crucial to avoid putting pressure on their chest or neck while positioning them. Remember to keep monitoring their breathing and heart rate while waiting for medical assistance to arrive.

Taking immediate action to ensure the safety of an unconscious person from drinking is crucial. By checking for responsiveness and moving the individual into the recovery position, you can provide initial aid while waiting for professional medical help to arrive. Remember, it's always better to err on the side of caution and seek prompt medical attention in such situations.

Seeking Help

When you encounter someone who is unconscious from drinking, it's crucial to seek immediate help. Acting swiftly can potentially save their life. Here are the steps to take when seeking assistance:

Calling Emergency Services

The first step is to call emergency services by dialing the local emergency number, such as 911. Inform the dispatcher that you have found someone who is unconscious from drinking. Provide the exact location of the incident, including any landmarks or notable details that can help emergency responders locate you quickly.

Remember to remain calm and provide clear information about the situation. The dispatcher may ask you specific questions about the person's condition or any other relevant details. Stay on the line until they instruct you otherwise, as they may provide additional instructions or assistance.

Providing Information to the Dispatcher

While you wait for emergency services to arrive, gather as much information as possible about the person's condition. This information will be crucial for the dispatcher and the medical professionals who will provide assistance. Be prepared to provide the following details:

  1. Level of consciousness: Describe the person's level of responsiveness or lack thereof. Mention if they can be awakened or if they are completely unresponsive.
  2. Breathing status: Assess the person's breathing. Inform the dispatcher if they are breathing normally, experiencing shallow breathing, or not breathing at all.
  3. Color of the person's skin: Note any changes in the person's skin color, such as paleness or bluish discoloration, as this may indicate a lack of oxygen.
  4. Other symptoms: If you notice any additional symptoms, such as seizures or vomiting, relay this information to the dispatcher as well.

By providing these details, you assist the dispatcher in understanding the severity of the situation and help them allocate appropriate resources. It is important to stay calm and provide accurate information to ensure the best possible care for the individual.

Remember, seeking help promptly is crucial when dealing with an unconscious individual due to alcohol consumption. Time is of the essence, and emergency services are equipped to handle such situations.

Monitoring the Person

When someone is unconscious from excessive alcohol consumption, it is crucial to monitor their breathing and heart rate to ensure their safety. Additionally, positioning the person correctly can help prevent choking and further complications.

Monitoring Breathing and Heart Rate

While the person is unconscious, it's essential to closely observe their breathing and heart rate. Check for any irregularities or abnormalities in their breathing pattern. If the person is breathing normally, it is a positive sign. However, if their breathing is slow, irregular, or has stopped altogether, it may indicate a more severe condition, such as alcohol poisoning.

To monitor their heart rate, gently place two fingers on the side of their neck or on their wrist to feel for a pulse. Count the number of beats for 15 seconds and multiply it by four to determine their heart rate per minute. If their heart rate is significantly fast or slow, or if you cannot detect a pulse, it is essential to seek immediate medical assistance. In such cases, perform CPR if you're trained to do so.

Positioning the Person to Prevent Choking

When someone is unconscious, there is a risk of choking on their vomit or saliva. To prevent this, gently roll the person onto their side into the recovery position. Follow these steps:

  1. Kneel down beside the person.
  2. Place their arm that is closest to you at a right angle to their body, with the palm facing up.
  3. Take their other arm and place it across their chest, resting the back of their hand against their cheek closest to you.
  4. Bend their knee that is farthest from you, while keeping the other leg straight.

This positioning will help ensure that any fluids can drain from their mouth and reduce the risk of choking. It's important to regularly check their airway to ensure it remains clear. If you notice any signs of choking or difficulty breathing, prompt medical attention is necessary.

By closely monitoring the person's breathing and heart rate, as well as positioning them correctly to prevent choking, you can provide immediate care while waiting for professional help. Remember, it is crucial to seek medical assistance promptly, as alcohol-related unconsciousness can be life-threatening. Stay with the person, offer emotional support, and encourage them to seek professional help to address their alcohol consumption.

Providing First Aid

In a situation where someone is unconscious from drinking, it's important to provide immediate first aid to ensure their safety and well-being. Two key actions to take during this critical time are placing the person in the recovery position and performing CPR if necessary.

Recovery Position

The recovery position is a safe and stable position to place an unconscious person, especially when they are intoxicated. This position helps prevent choking and allows any fluids, such as vomit, to drain from the mouth, reducing the risk of aspiration.

To place someone in the recovery position:

  1. Kneel beside the person and ensure they are lying on their side.
  2. Extend the arm that is closest to you straight out from their body.
  3. Take their other arm and fold it across their chest, placing the back of their hand against their cheek on the side closest to you.
  4. Bend the leg that is farthest from you at the knee, keeping the foot flat on the ground.
  5. With one hand on their hip and the other on the knee, gently roll them onto their side, facing you.
  6. Adjust their upper leg so that the hip and knee are both bent at right angles.
  7. Tilt their head back slightly, ensuring their airway remains open.
  8. Monitor their breathing and heart rate while waiting for medical assistance.

CPR if Needed

In some cases, an unconscious person may not be breathing or may have very shallow breaths. If you are trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or have received guidance from an emergency dispatcher, you may need to perform CPR.

Before starting CPR, make sure to call emergency services and notify them of the situation. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Position the person on their back on a firm surface.
  2. Kneel next to them, ensuring their airway is open and clear.
  3. Begin chest compressions by placing the heel of one hand on the center of the person's chest, between the nipples.
  4. Place your other hand on top of the first hand, interlacing your fingers.
  5. With your arms straight and shoulders directly above your hands, use your body weight to compress the chest at least 2 inches deep.
  6. Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute, allowing the chest to fully rise between compressions.
  7. If you are trained in CPR and comfortable doing so, you may provide rescue breaths after every 30 compressions. Otherwise, continue with chest compressions only.
  8. Continue CPR until emergency medical professionals arrive or the person shows signs of life.

Remember, providing first aid is crucial in these situations, but professional medical help should always be sought.

Aftercare and Support

Once you have taken the necessary steps to ensure the immediate safety and well-being of someone who is unconscious from drinking, it is crucial to provide aftercare and support. This includes staying with the person, offering emotional support, and encouraging professional help if needed.

Staying with the Person

It is important to stay with the person who is unconscious to monitor their condition and provide assistance if necessary. While they may regain consciousness on their own, it's essential to be prepared for any potential complications. Stay alert and observe their breathing, heart rate, and overall responsiveness.

Avoid leaving the person alone, especially if they are in an unfamiliar environment or there are safety concerns. Being present allows you to respond quickly to any changes in their condition and seek additional help if required.

Offering Emotional Support

Being unconscious from drinking can be a distressing and vulnerable experience for the person involved. They may feel scared, embarrassed, or confused when they regain consciousness. Offering emotional support can help alleviate their anxiety and provide reassurance.

Remain calm and non-judgmental when speaking with them. Encourage open communication and let them know that you are there to support them. Reassure them that seeking medical assistance is a responsible and necessary step to ensure their well-being.

Encouraging Professional Help

While you may have already called emergency services, it is important to emphasize the importance of seeking professional help to the person once they regain consciousness. Alcohol-related unconsciousness can be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as alcohol poisoning, which requires medical attention.

Encourage the person to follow up with a healthcare professional or seek further evaluation. You can provide them with resources or information on local support services, such as helplines or addiction treatment centers. Remind them that professional help is available and can provide the necessary guidance and support for their overall well-being.

Remember, the well-being and safety of the person who was unconscious from drinking should always be the top priority. By staying with them, offering emotional support, and encouraging them to seek professional help, you can play a vital role in their recovery process.


Remember, it's important to remain calm and act swiftly when encountering someone who is unconscious from drinking. By recognizing the signs of alcohol poisoning and assessing the severity of the situation, you can take the appropriate steps to ensure their safety. Remember to prioritize safety by checking for responsiveness and moving the person to a safe position.

Seeking prompt medical attention is crucial in such situations. By providing first aid and aftercare support, you can help the person recover and prevent future incidents.


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