Straight Talk for Teens by Lauren Forcella
Dear Straight Talk: I attend high school parties but don’t usually drink or use drugs. Recently a girl chugged vodka. Everyone except me was drinking so nobody thought much of it. After 10 minutes, her limbs went limp and she couldn’t walk, yet she was still conscious, saying to leave her alone so she could sleep. I put her on her side so she wouldn’t suffocate on her own vomit and watched over her. I was the only one paying attention! I get scared at parties when people chug and go limp. I don’t know whether I should take them to ER or not. It’s not the first time this has happened. What should I do?
~ Sober DD
Brie, 20, Santa Barbara: If someone is “sleeping it off,” shaking them will make them move, grunt, wake up, complain, etc. They will also have regular breathing. But if you shake them and they don’t move, don’t make noises or their breathing is weak or irregular, they need medical attention immediately! I’ve been at many parties where someone is throwing up. I position them so they won’t choke and check on them periodically. Being a good Samaritan is wonderful, but ultimately, you are not responsible for those who choose to get drunk.
Gregg, 20, Los Angeles: At a party recently, one guy got so drunk that he puked uncontrollably for three hours. We propped him up in the tub and watched over him continuously. We only didn’t take him to the emergency room because we were afraid of the bill! Now I realize we are lucky he didn’t die.
Dear Sober DD: Does anyone need more reasons to stop drinking? Bless you for staying sober and being a good Samaritan. Knowing what to do in times of trouble often prompts one to avoid that trouble. That said, dear readers, here is how to help a drunk friend. Wishing you a safe, sober and joyous holiday.
If someone is limp, passed out or vomiting
• Continually monitor them – stay with them constantly
• Keep them sitting up or lying on their side so they don’t choke on vomit
• Wake them often
• Check for weak or irregular breathing
• Put a drunk in charge of them
• Put them in a room alone
• Put them in a cold shower (The shock can cause unconsciousness)
• Exercise them
• Give food, liquids, medicine or other drugs to sober them
Call 911 immediately if:
• Cold, pale or bluish skin
• Can’t be awakened
• Slow or irregular breathing
• Vomiting repeatedly or un-controllably
• Suspicion of drugs mixed with alcohol
For more discussion, to ask a question or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit www.straighttalktnt.com or write P.O.Box 963, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.
More from Lauren Forcella
I have it on solid teenage authority that kids drink and use drugs for two reasons: One, they are depressed about some aspect of their life. Two, they need help loosening up around the opposite sex. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone looked their problems in the eye and asked for help instead of drowning them with intoxicants? And wouldn’t it be nice if people faced the awkwardness of socializing and romance without chemical assistance? What if people learned to laugh, dance, ask for help, be silly or in love without drugs or alcohol? We did as children. Then what happened?
New Year’s resolution idea: Reject the notion that growing up means you have to use drugs and alcohol to be yourself or have a good time. Remember how you felt as a child? Retrain yourself to bring that freedom from drugs into adulthood.