Maybe The Most Important Lesson Of The Semester: Partying 101

The beginning of a new school year is a time to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and, for you freshmen, the first time to go out without a curfew. There are parties every night and that means some amount of alcohol will be present. I’m not here to tell you what to do or what not to do. But people around you will be drinking and if you’re going to be in that environment you have a responsibility to know how to keep your friends (and people you just met) safe. I know you've heard it all before, but humor me and at least skim these important points.

 

Photo via Greekrank

 

If you aren’t from Texas (or even if you are), you might not be aware of the Texas drinking laws. The most important of which is the 911 Lifeline Law. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the law prevents a minor (under 21) from being charged with possession or consumption of alcohol if they take a person to the hospital or call 911 to get help. You will NOT get in trouble if you call for help as long as you stay with your friend until help arrives and cooperate with medics/law enforcement.

You must call for help if there are signs of alcohol poisoning. It isn’t an option. Here is a nifty acronym from Aware Awake Alive to remember the signs of alcohol poisioning: MUST HELP.

  • M- mental confusion. If your friend can’t remember your name or what 2+2 is, you need to get help.
  • U- unresponsive. If someone can’t reply to you or open their eyes long enough to have a conversation, you need to get help.
  • S- snoring/gasping for air. This isn’t a “my new roommate won’t stop snoring” thing; it’s a “this person is having a hard time breathing” thing.
  • T- throwing up. If someone is throwing up constantly or in his or her sleep, you need to get help. Too much alcohol messes with your gag reflex and that’s how people die from choking on their own vomit.
  • H- hypothermia. Alcohol lowers your body temperature (which is why trying to “sober-up” your friend with a cold shower is a terrible idea).
  • E- erratic breathing. If someone is breathing less than 8 times a minute, they need emergency medical help.
  • L- loss of consciousness. Alcohol continues to metabolize even if you aren’t awake. If someone has alcohol poisoning they wont necessarily be able to sleep it off.
  • P- paleness/ blueness of skin. This is a sign of blood not flowing properly, possibly caused by a lack oxygen. If someone looks like they’re not getting enough air, they need help.

Obviously these aren’t all of the signs of alcohol poisoning for every person. Trust your instinct and if you feel like someone needs help, get it.

To the Freshmen: Don’t go too crazy too fast. Saying no to the eighth shot isn’t going to look bad, what looks bad is throwing up in the sink at a pre-game. Be aware of what’s going on and trust your instincts. If you’re unsure or scared just ask someone. The upperclassmen have been to parties before. It won’t ruin their night, they aren’t going to rat you out to an RA (even though the RA's are amazing and aren't trying to get you in trouble). They can and will help you out. 

It’ll be an amazing year. Just remember the goal of each night out should be to have fun and to get back safe.