How to help a drunk friend

Tips on what to do when a friend is very drunk

Written by spunout


If a friend is drunk, they’re not going to be thinking clearly. Many people can become sick, aggressive or do things that they wouldn’t normally do when they’ve had too much to drink. If you are out with a friend who is too drunk and an accident happens, there are things you can do to help. 

Helping a drunk friend

Keep these things in mind on a night out so you can help any friends who get too drunk.

In an emergency

In a serious case of drunkenness, a person might lose consciousness (pass out). If this happens, put them in the recovery position (lying on their side), check that they’re breathing and that nothing is blocking their mouth (such as vomit or an ice cube) and call for help on 999 or 112.

Don’t leave the unconscious person alone. Ask somebody else go and call an ambulance if you can’t wake them up. 

If your friend isn’t breathing, they need immediate help. Get someone to call an ambulance and shout for help from anyone who has first aid training.

If your friend is vomiting constantly or choking when they vomit, then stay with them and get someone else to call an ambulance.

Leaving the club or pub

Try not to let drunken friends leave on their own or with a stranger. Insist on staying with them until you’re sure they get home safely. 

Make sure your friend isn’t left alone when they are drunk. Stay with them, but don’t try to walk the drunk person around, as this could be dangerous.

Don’t let a drunken friend or someone who has recently been drunk, drive home. Hide the car keys if you need to.

If you are upset or concerned about their drunkenness or behaviour, wait to talk to them until another time when they are sober. If you’re worried about a friend drinking too much, talk to them about cutting back on alcohol when they are sober.

For sobering up, there is no substitute for time. It can take up to 24 hours or more for the after-effects of alcohol to wear off fully. Drinking plenty of water, getting some sleep, and having a starchy food that is easy on the stomach, like some plain bread, can help. 

Worried about a friend’s drinking?

If you are worried about a friend’s drinking there are supports you can turn to for help. 

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