Alcohol Poisoning / Medical Amnesty

Alcohol poisoning is a serious, and sometimes deadly result of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Recognizing and responding to alcohol poisoning can help save a life.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning and What To Do

Alcohol poisoning can be fatal.

Call 911 if someone has been drinking alcohol and is showing any of the following signs:

  • Possible head injury or confusion
  • Can’t wake up even after vomiting
  • Slow or irregular breathing, weak or rapid pulse
  • Skin is pale or bluish; clammy or cold

Don’t just let them “sleep it off”.

While waiting for help:

  • Follow the directions given by the 911 dispatcher
  • DO NOT hang up until told to do so
  • Stay with the person until help arrives
  • Roll them on their side to avoid choking on vomit
  • Do not give them any food, water, or medication

Keep in mind that even when someone is unconscious or has stopped drinking, alcohol continues to be released into the bloodstream

Oregon Medical Amnesty Law

In January 2015, the Oregon Medical Amnesty law (ORS 471.430.10(a)) took effect. This policy is aimed at reducing the number of alcohol poisoning deaths statewide through a measure to encourage the seeking of medical treatment for possible alcohol poisoning.

The Medical Amnesty Policy protects underage drinkers from being charged with a “Minor in Possession” (MIP) violation when they seek medical attention for themselves or others who might be suffering from alcohol poisoning. The law does not give immunity from other alcohol or drug offenses, and it does not override policies relating to college or university codes of conduct.