Caring For A Drunk Mate

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Caring For A Drunk Mate


From weaving into traffic to starting impossible fights, and even dealing with a case of unconsciousness, here's how to manage a friend who's had one too many.

Recognise the warning signs

If you've ever been in a situation where you've consumed too much alcohol, often it's the people around you who are first to notice. So, if you're out with someone who has begun to talk loudly, slur their words, or become a little excitable or unstable on their feet, it might be time to step in as a mate.

Make them aware that they're drunk

The key is not to make them feel foolish or embarrassed. Instead, have a quiet word and suggest they call a halt to their alcohol intake. As an incentive, flag up the fact that you're both having a good time, so why risk spoiling it by boozing any more? If they're not keen to call it a night, suggest switching to soft drinks instead, grabbing a snack, or even simply slowing down their alcohol intake.

Elect to get them home safely

The party has to come to a close at some stage - whether your mate has seen reason, or you've nowhere else to keep drinking. Whatever the case, don't let them stumble off alone. Stick together, keep them walking if needs be, and also use your judgement as to whether some food might help. If they're just a bit tipsy then eating can only help to absorb the alcohol in their system, but don't risk if it if they're so hammered you think they're close to losing consciousness.

Taxi ride or trudge on foot?

Some fresh air and physical exercise can often help a drinker sober up. Just consider whether walking back is safe. If your mate is one of those drunks who forget their road sense entirely, or likes to throw insults at police or passing strangers, you might be better off grabbing a taxi. If so, make sure the window is open, and be prepared to ask them to stop in a hurry if it looks like they're about to redecorate the interior.

Let someone know they're in a state, or stay with them

Once you've reached your destination, don't leave them to their own devices. If they're living at home, or sharing a house or flat, inform someone there of the situation. They might not thank you for waking them up, but ultimately you're doing it for the sake of your friend's welfare - and they will understand this. If your mate lives alone, and is in a rough state, consider staying the night to keep an eye on them. If you have to help them to bed, put them in the recovery position as a precaution (see below).

Dealing with a drunk mate emergency

Different factors affect the impact of alcohol on an individual. Everything from how much they've drunk to when they last ate, their physical shape and health can play a role, which means the effects from boozing can sometimes take people by surprise.

Vomiting, fainting and loss of consciousness are all associated with alcohol misuse. If you're with someone who stops having a good time, and goes from bad to worse, here's how to manage the situation responsibly:

The recovery position

If your mate has collapsed, and they're still breathing:

  • Turn them onto their front, with their head sideways on the side nearest to you;
  • Bend their upper arm and their leg on the side nearest to you;
  • Straighten the other arm and leg;
  • Stay with them, keep an eye on their breathing, and tell someone to call an ambulance.

Emergency resuscitation

  • If someone's heart has stopped and they're not breathing, you need to act fast:

Call out for help. Tell someone to call ambulance;

  • Quickly look in their mouth and scoop out any foreign bodies or vomit;
  • Turn them onto their back;
  • Tilt their head back and lift the chin slightly to open the airway;
  • Close their nostrils with your thumb and finger;
  • Take a deep breath and place your mouth over their mouth;
  • Blow into their mouth until their chest expands;
  • Repeat one more time;
  • Feel the side of their neck or at the wrist with your fingers for a pulse;
  • If there is no sign, perform cardiac massage (see below).

Cardiac massage

  • Locate the notch at the bottom of the breastbone;
  • Measure two finger-widths above this;
  • Place both hands on the middle of the breastbone and press down firmly and smoothly 15 times, at a rate of about 80 times per minute;
  • Keep repeating mouth-to-mouth (two breaths) and then cardiac massage (15 compressions) until you get a pulse and breathing, or until the ambulance
    crew arrive and take over.

Ambulance alert

If you're really worried about a mate who has drunk too much then call an ambulance immediately. It might save a life and you won't get into trouble.