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How to Help a Friend

It can be really scary if a friend is exhibiting the signs of alcohol poisoning, alcohol dependence or just struggling in general.

Helpful Actions:

  • Call 911 if the person has consumed alcohol and has any of the following symptoms:
  • P uking while passed out
  • U nresponsive to pinching or shaking, unconscious or semiconscious
  • B reathing is low, shallow, irregular or absent
  • S kin is blue, cold, or clammy
  • Insist the person does not drive under the influence. Offer to give the person a ride home, or call Campus Security for a Security Escort (208) 426-6911
  • If you are concerned about someone’s drinking behaviors:  submit a CARE report, which can be filled out anonymously

Unhelpful Actions:

  • Encouraging someone to “sleep off” intoxication. (Blood Alcohol Concentration continues to rise, even in sleep. Time is the only way to become sober, at a rate of about one hour per standard drink.)
  • Conveying judgment or criticism of the substance use disorder
  • Not checking in on that person and hoping things improve on their own

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder:

  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired thinking
  • Memory impairment
  • Wanting to stop drinking but not being able to
  • Letting go of work, family and social obligations to drink
  • Being secretive about alcohol misuse
  • Engaging in risky behavior such as drunk driving
  • Being in denial about the problem
  • Being upset at the thought of not having access to alcohol

Talk to your RA

Your RA is a great resource for you when you are experiencing challenges and don’t know where to go for help. They can offer advice but also connect you to campus resources that may be able to help your friend. They are there to help!

Be an Upstander!

Learn how

Upstander Quiz

Take the quiz


If you aren’t sure how to help someone and feel in over your head, it’s okay! Boise State CARE is here to help. You can submit a CARE report anonymously, or include your name and someone from the CARE team will check in on that person. Learn more about when to submit and CARE referral.

Health Services screening

General screening

Curious to learn about your alcohol use?

Take the screening

Suicide Hotline

Text or Call 988