Alcohol Poisoning occurs when your body is forced to shut down due to the large amount of alcohol in your blood stream. Alcohol has the effect of slowing down many of the involuntary functions of the body including your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and gag reflex. A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions.
It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit due to the irritation alcohol can be on the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation.
A person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while they are passed out. Alcohol will continue ot enter the bloodstream and circulate through the body even after a person stops drinking. It is dangerous to assume the person will be fine by sleeping it off.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
What to do if someone has alcohol poisoning
Don't try to guess the level of drunkenness.
What can happen?
Even if the victim lives, an alcohol overdose can lead to irreversible brain damage. Rapid binge drinking (which often happens on a bet or a dare) is especially dangerous because the victim can ingest a fatal dose before becoming unconscious.
Don't be afraid to seek medical help for a friend who has had too much to drink. Don't worry that your friend may become angry or embarrassed-remember, you cared enough to help. Always be safe, not sorry.
Information from the United States Government Research about Alcohol and College Drinking Prevention.