Slightly more than half of Americans ages 12 or older report being drinkers of alcohol, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Excessive alcohol consumption can increase a person’s risk of developing serious health problems, including fetal damage in pregnant women, brain and liver damage, heart disease, and hypertension. In addition, alcohol can alter brain development in youth, potentially affecting brain structure and function that may cause cognitive or learning problems and/or make the brain more prone to alcohol dependence.
Alcohol poisoning, which can occur after drinking large amounts of alcohol over a short period of time, is serious and can be deadly. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and gag reflex, and potentially lead to coma and/or death. Alcohol poisoning also can occur when adults or children drink household products that contain alcohol. Pets, too, can be in danger if they ingest alcohol and products that contain alcohol.
A person or pet with alcohol poisoning needs immediate medical attention. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning or who is unconscious, in a deep sleep, or having trouble breathing after consuming alcohol, call 911 and get him or her to an emergency room.
The Mercer County Division of Public Health has partnered with New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES), the state’s regional poison control center, to provide more information on emerging health and safety educational topics. If you have questions about alcohol poisoning, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from NJPIES at 800-222-1222. All calls are free and confidential, and when needed, NJPIES responds to other emergent health issues by expanding hotline services. New Jersey residents are encouraged to save NJPIES’ number in their mobile phones and post it somewhere in their residences.
For questions about treatment for dependency to alcohol, please contact the Mercer County Office on Addiction Services at 609-989-6826.