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What is Alcohol Poisoning or Alcohol Overdose? What are the symptoms?

A: The dangers of Acute Alcohol Intoxication, more commonly known as Alcohol Poisoning or Alcohol Overdose, are real and can happen anywhere. Your awareness and knowledge about the signs and symptoms could mean life or death to a person you care about.

Try to wake them up. Call their name, shake them, pinch them. If they do not respond - GET HELP!

Check the person's skin. If his/her skin is pale or is cold or is clammy - GET HELP!

Listen to their breathing. If it is irregular, or too slow/shallow (less than 8 breaths per minute or more than 10 seconds between breaths) - GET HELP!


1. If you discover any of the above symptoms, call 9-1-1 or NDSU campus police at 231-8998. Only one of the symptoms is reason enough to call 9-1-1, better SAFE than SORRY!

2. Stay with the person while waiting for help to arrive, don't ever just let them 'sleep it off'. If their breathing stops, perform CPR.

3. Turn the person on his/her side to prevent choking.

Better SAFE than SORRY.

When in doubt, call 9-1-1


Alcohol Overdose: Signs, Symptoms and How to Help

Each year, 1,393 deaths in the United States are attributed to alcohol poisoning and the consequences of those deaths are devastating for family members and friends. It is essential that individuals are aware of the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning and know how to get help when a friend is exhibiting those signs.

If I call 9-1-1 for help, but I am underage and have also been drinking, am I going to get in trouble?

A: The state of North Dakota has information about this in their Century Code, it states: 

"An individual under twenty-one years of age is immune from criminal prosecution under this section if that individual contacted law enforcement or emergency medical services and reported that another individual under twenty-one years of age was in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption, provided assistance to the individual in need of medical assistance until assistance arrived and remained on the scene, or was the individual in need of medical assistance and cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel on the scene. The maximum number of individuals that may be immune for any one occurrence is five individuals." 

You can find more information on the ND legislative website.

At NDSU we have the Good Samaritan Responsibilities to uphold.

As stated in the "NDSU Rights and Responsibilities of Community: A code of Student Behavior,"

 "Student hosts have the responsibility to ensure the well being of their guests wherever events occur. If a guest needs emergency medical attention, student hosts are required to call an ambulance or other appropriate emergency response personnel (ambulance, police, fire, etc.) to gain that assistance. Student hosts who fail to carry out this responsibility may be subject to severe university sanctions and may potentially be subject to additional civil and/or criminal liability. Student hosts who act properly and seek medical attention or police assistance will experience appropriate leniency in university sanctioning related to the event in which the medical emergency arose."

NDSU policy and ND law work together in making sure nothing gets in the way of seeking medical attention when it is needed and to point out that there should be no reason not to call 9-1-1.

Is it true that NDSU is a dry campus?

A: Absolutely. Believe it or not, North Dakota State University seriously cares about you and your success at college. Statistics show that students who drink in high-risk ways are more likely to hurt themselves, others and their chances for lifelong success. Besides that, underage drinking and possession in addition to the sale of alcohol to minors is illegal. That's the law. 

For that reason, the State Board of Higher Education and NDSU prohibit the possession, sale, dispensation or consumption of alcohol on board-owned property.


What's the big deal about drinking on campus?

A: Most students living on campus are under the minimum legal drinking age in North Dakota (21 years of age). No student under 21 is legally allowed to possess or drink alcohol. Besides the legal concerns, alcohol misuse poses a serious threat to your health, safety and success at NDSU.

Still not convinced?

  • About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams and receiving lower grades overall
  • Nationally, more than 599,000 students (between the ages of 18-24) are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol 
  • Each year, 1,800 college students (between the ages of 18 and 24) die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.  
  • More than 97,000 students (between the ages of 18 and 24) are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape 

NDSU doesn't want anything to get in the way of your success here and in the future.


Does drinking really affect my academics?

A: According to a national study conducted at four-year colleges and universities by Henry Wechsler of the Harvard School of Public Health it was found that, nearly one-third of high-risk drinkers had missed class and 21 percent had fallen behind in their school work because of their drinking. 

Among frequent high-risk drinkers--students who had engaged in high-risk drinking three or more times in the previous two weeks--over 60 percent had missed class and 46 percent had fallen behind in school because of their drinking.

Also, a national survey of nearly 94,000 students from 197 colleges and universities conducted over a three year period found in the third year that students with an 'A' average consume a little more than 4 drinks per week, 'B' students have 6 drinks per week, 'C' students average almost 8 drinks per week, and students with 'D's or 'F's consume almost 10 drinks per week. 

For more information on this please see the College Academic Performance and Alcohol and Other Drug Use fact sheet.

Don't all college students drink?

A: While movies and tv shows have promoted the idea that college students get drunk constantly, don't be fooled. Binge-drinking is less common on college campuses than you might think.

  • According to a survey conducted on the NDSU campus in 2012, 13.4% of NDSU students abstain from drinking completely.
  • The survey also showed 30% percent of NDSU first-year students do not drink at all and only 33.3% reported binge drinking in the two weeks prior to taking the survey.
  • Students tend to overestimate their peers use of alcohol. In a recent NDSU study, they perceived their peers as consuming an average of 6.05 drinks at off-campus parties, when the average number of drinks consumed was actually 4.92. 
  • Also, according to the 2012 NDSU CORE Alcohol and Other Drug Survey, 92% of NDSU students say alcohol is NOT necessary to have a good time.

Part of being a college student is learning to act like a responsible adult. That means learning to handle your new freedoms such as whether to drink alcohol or not.

Not all students are expecting or want to be involved in drinking in high risk ways; many students at NDSU don't even drink at all. 

Just know this: Should you choose not to drink, you are not alone.

What happens if I get caught violating the NDSU alcohol and other drug policy?

A: Students and student groups who violate university policy on alcohol or other drugs either on or off campus  are subject to penalties, depending on the severity of the violation and previous history of drug and alcohol use.

Sanctions, determined on a case-by-case basis, may include:

  • Alcohol education class 
  • Written reflection 
  • Restitution 
  • Restricted access to university facilities 
  • Loss of privileges 
  • Probation 
  • Suspension and/or expulsion from the university. 

You should be aware that, if you are under 21, your parents may be contacted without your consent by an NDSU official. On top of NDSU penalties, you could face local, state and federal charges involving the possession or sale of controlled substances. Municipal court fines and fees may exceed $500 for first-time alcohol-related violations, minor-in-possession or consumption charges.

NDSU's Alcohol Policy can be found on the NDSU Alcohol & Other Drug Policies page

It is also important to keep in mind that alcohol and other drug-related violations can follow you after graduation. Results of a November 2010 study indicate that employers of NDSU graduates consider the past infractions of students prior to making hiring decisions.  According to one employer, “If filling a position came down to two individuals that were equally qualified (or have the same potential) we would opt not to hire the person with infractions of their record. This could be specifically detrimental to a recent college grad who is trying to get into the workforce.”  Other results of the survey indicate:

  • 57.2% of employers of NDSU graduates conduct criminal background checks on all positions
  • 37.8% check social networking sites of prospective employees
  • 28.8% of employers would require additional explanation for a Minor in Possession 
  • 50% of employers have a policy prohibiting individuals convicted of a felony from being hired

The DUIs and Degrees brochure contains an overview of the results of this study, along with suggestions for students who have already received an alcohol or drug-related infraction. Copies of the brochure are also available in the NDSU Career Center (306 Ceres Hall), Counseling Center (212 Ceres Hall) and Advising Resource Center (Gunkelman Room, Memorial Union). For additional information, download a summary of the study results 

What does it mean for your career if "one more" becomes one too many?

Check out this video - written, directed and produced by NDSU College of Business Peer Leaders - to learn more about how many employers conduct criminal background checks and what a DUI or other alcohol-related violation can mean for your future career. 

What is low-risk drinking?

A: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises no more than 1 standard drink per day for women and no more than 2 standard drinks per day for men.

With that known, according to CHOICES-an alcohol education program offered through NDSU-a standard drink size is an any alcoholic beverage that contains ½ ounce pure alcohol. That would equal ONE:

12oz. Domestic Beer
4oz. of wine
10 oz. Microbrew 
10oz. Wine Cooler
8oz. Ice Beer or Malt Liquor
1.5oz. 80-proof liquor

However, there are some people who should not drink alcohol at all:

  • People under the age of 21 
  • People taking medications, including some over-the counter medications 
  • People who plan to drive or engage in other activities that require attention or skill 
  • Recovering Alcoholics 
  • Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive 

Other people may also have a high risk or potential of drinking problems:

  • People from alcoholic or addicted families; 
  • People from families with depression history; 
  • People from families with disordered eating conditions. 

More information about low-risk drinking is available on the Before One More page.

What do I do when I am concerned about my friend's or roommate's drinking?

A: The most constructive thing you can do is to say something, but be sure that it is assertive and not aggressive. 

If this is a one-time thing, the feedback will probably help your friend or roommate to stop and reflect about their drinking. 

If this behavior is a pattern, then a different approach may be needed. Your Resident Assistant or Residence Hall Director can help you talk through the situation.

If you think him/her might have a drinking problem many resources are available at NDSU and in the Fargo Moorhead Community.

On campus you can visit the Counseling Center- This department provides free alcohol/drug assessment services and provides referral services for individuals concerned about alcohol and drug use. 

Ceres Hall 212

Have additional questions?

For any questions or concerns, please contact Nicklaus Redenius Alcohol and Other Drugs Prevention Coordinator at (701) 231-5478 or via e-mail

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-5478
Campus address: West Dining Center Lower Level
Physical/delivery address: 1340 Administration Ave., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5260 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Programs

Last Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2008
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