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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Responding to Alcohol Medical Emergencies

Alcohol overdose is a medical emergency. If you see someone who has passed out and is unresponsive, or you suspect someone has overdosed on alcohol, it is your responsibility to get help by calling 911 immediately.

To check for an alcohol overdose, remember your ABCDE's:

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Overdose

Alcohol is a depressant that can make parts of the brain that control involuntary functions like your breathing and gag reflex shut down. Serious risks from this include choking on vomit and depressed respiration that can cause a drinker to lapse into a coma, stop breathing, and die.

While waiting for emergency personnel:

Medical Amnesty

Minnesota has a Medical Amnesty Law to ensure that people who are at risk for alcohol overdose receive prompt medical attention. If you call 911 for assistance for yourself or a friend and are under 21, you or your friend will be immune from criminal penalties related to underage drinking or possession of alcohol. However, any costs for hospitalization or a detoxification facility will be billed to the person needing attention. If you call for medical attention, you must remain with the person who needs it until help arrives in order to be covered under the Medical Amnesty law.

University Consequences for Someone Who Calls for Help

The University does not wish to punish students for making the right decision. Your first priority is to make sure help is called for someone who needs it.

In most instances a first offense for underage drinking would receive consequences that are educational in nature and would not result in a student being suspended, expelled, or evicted from campus housing.

Quick Links

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs
Alcohol and Chemical Health Services
Chemical Health Self Assessment
University and Community Resources
University Policy

Stay Safe
Be a Friend
Low-risk Drinking
Overdose, Emergencies
Your Body
Party Planning Guide

Know Before You Go
Blood Alcohol Concentration
     and Tolerance
Absorption Rate Factors
Standard Drink
Hangover Risks
Alcohol and Exercise
Energy Drinks
Myths and Facts

Other substances

More Resources


The video below from demonstrates how to perform the Bacchus Maneuver

Download instructions to performing the
Bacchus Maneuver

Boynton Health

410 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN, 55455

P: 612-625-8400 | F: 612-625-1434