My Friend Has Drunk Too Much, What Should I Do?

Stay calm if someone drinks too much by reading these top tips from the Ambulance Service.

When people have drunk too much alcohol they can be extremely vulnerable. In most cases people eventually sober up but if they have taken more than their body can handle they can be sick.

Looking after a drunk friend 

When someone has had too much to drink there is also a big worry that they could choke on their own vomit, collapse or fall asleep somewhere dangerous. It’s also possible for other people to take advantage of them – they could end up being robbed, or assaulted.

You may be hesitant to call the ambulance if you’re under the legal age for drinking and worried about getting into trouble but don't worry, all the ambulance service cares about is helping your friend.

What you should do if things go wrong

Don't panic, the Ambulance Service is there to help you in this situation.

  • Make sure the casualty is breathing by looking, listening and feeling for movement of the chest or abdomen, if they are not breathing then you need to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • You now need to roll the person into the recovery position, that is on to their side so that they can still breathe. If you roll them right over then they will not be able to breathe properly, as their own body weight may stop them from breathing.
  • This is the time to send or phone for the Ambulance by dialling 999, giving the exact location of the person. It will help the Ambulance crew if you send somebody to meet them and guide them to the casualty.
  • You should try and keep the person warm as a side effect of too much alcohol is hypothermia.
  • Keep checking that the person has a clear airway and is still breathing properly until the Ambulance arrives.

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation 

Recovery position 

What are the effects of drinking too much? 

Drinking too much alcohol can affect your appearance and your health so it’s important to stick within the daily amount recommended by health experts. 

Alcohol can also lead to addiction, depression and heart disease. For more information visit the effects of alcohol article on the NHS Choices website.

There is no recommended limit for young people under 18 to drink. This is because at that age your body isn't fully developed. It could be harmful to have any amount of alcohol as a young body can't cope with alcohol the same way a fully grown adult can.

Remember the legal age for the purchase and consumption of alcohol in the UK is 18.

More help and information

We Are With You provide free, confidential support with alcohol or drugs.

Visit Al-anon, who support the families affected by someone else's alcohol problems.

Find out more about the effects of alcohol.

Head back to the Choices for Life campaign page.