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Substance Abuse Services

Do's and Dont's of Handling an Intoxicated Person

DO
  • DO demonstrate concern for person’s welfare. Talk in a calm, non-judgmental voice in order to reassure him/her.
  • DO find out what the person was drinking, how much, over what time period, and if the alcohol was consumed with any other drugs or medicines.
  • DO explain what you intend to do, speaking in a clear, firm, reassuring manner.
  • DO arrange for someone to stay with a person who is vomiting.
  • DO encourage the intoxicated person to lie down and sleep, making sure to lie on his/her side. This prevents accidental death by choking should he/she begin to vomit. Be sure to check the person every 30 minutes for the first two hours and then every hour to make sure they are responsive and are breathing. If they do not respond call 911 for assistance. Remember, a person’s BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level may continue to rise depending on how much they’ve had to drink and how recently s/he consumed the alcohol.
  • DO call for help if the person becomes uncontrollable or you sense an impending medical emergency, UNI Public Safety 273-4000.


  • DON'T
  • DON’T attempt to constrain the person.
  • DON’T give the person any medication, even aspirin. Aspirin may irritate the stomach lining.
  • DON’T give the person food, coffee, tea, or other liquids. S/he is at risk for choking.
  • DON’T induce vomiting.
  • DON’T give the person a cold shower
  • DON’T assume that every intoxicated person who passes out will sleep it off. Check his/her breathing at regular intervals. Don’t leave them alone.
  • DON’T let a person operate a car, motorcycle or bicycle.
  • DON’T leave him/her alone.