Helping you get through tough times

Helping a drunk friend

At some point it’s likely you’ll be in a situation where you have to look after a friend who’s had too much to drink.

A man with his head down on a barThey might be drunk for a number of reasons. Maybe they don’t know how much alcohol they can handle, or they feel pressure to drink a lot, or they even just want to.

Whatever the reason, when someone is drunk, they’re more likely to get into unsafe situations. When it’s your friend, that’s where you come in.

Knowing the signs

Everyone is affected by alcohol differently, but here are some signs your friend has had too much to drink:

  • they can’t string words together to make a coherent sentence
  • they’re acting strangely and doing things they wouldn’t normally
  • they’ve thrown up
  • they have a glazed look in their eyes
  • they can’t walk straight and keep bumping into people and objects
  • they’ve passed out.

What can you do to help?

Look out for each other when you go out. If you think your friend has had too much to drink there’s a number of things you can do to help:

  • Stay with your friend and make sure they’re OK
  • Quietly let your friend know they might have drunk too much, and suggest they stop, or else slow down. Get them to drink some water and eat something. Sometimes the easiest way to encourage your friend to slow down is to get the group to go for something to eat. That way you’re getting your friend to take time out from drinking without having to confront them.
  • Make sure your friend gets home OK, by either getting them into a taxi, taking them home (by car, public transport or by foot), or taking them back to your place.
  • If you can, let someone in their house know they’ve had a little too much to drink and need to have an eye kept on them, or else keep an eye on them yourself.
  • If your friend loses consciousness, it is important to get help straight away and call an ambulance. In such an emergency, dial 999 or 112. These numbers will work even if you have no credit on your phone or if it’s locked.

Later on

Friends are meant to help each other out, but being the person who has to look after everyone else on an ongoing basis isn’t much fun.

A bit later on you might want to tell your friend about how worried you were when you had to look after them, and talk about ways to drink without it affecting your nights in a negative way.

See alcohol for more on dealing with its effects and Ask About Alcohol to find out how much is too much.

This article was last reviewed on 15 August 2017

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