Police this week fired a warning to parents and young people in Strathearn following reports a teenager had to be rushed to hospital after consuming a potentially fatal amount of alcohol.
Tayside Police’s Crieff community crime officer Sarah Jane Bell explained the youngster downed both beer and spirits at an unsupervised house party prior to Christmas.
The officer told the Herald: “After consuming a large amount of beer and spirits the boy in question became unwell and vomited. His friends left him unattended in the bathroom and he was found some time later, unconscious and struggling to breathe as his airway was blocked due to his position and the vomit.”
Thankfully, one of the youths alerted an adult and the emergency services were called.
PC Bell continued: “The boy had to be admitted to hospital overnight and put on a drip. If he had been left much longer this could have had a very tragic outcome.”
A subsequent police investigation led to a 17-year-old youth being charged under the Licensing Scotland Act (2005). Further inquiries are ongoing.
Speaking generally, PC Bell added: “I would ask parents to please speak to their children about the dangers of alcohol and always try to know where your child is and who they’re with.
“People often confuse alcohol poisoning with a given person being a little too drunk.”
Confusion, loss of coordination, vomiting, seizures, irregular breathing, pale or blue-tinged skin and falling in and out of consciousness were all cited as warning signs of alcohol poisoning.
PC Bell went on to advise: “Try to keep the person awake and sitting up and, if they are able to drink, give them small sips of water. If they are unconscious, place them in the recovery position, keep them warm and stay with them.
“A person suffering from alcohol poisoning should not be left alone and anyone trying to assist them should never leave them to sleep it off or make them sick – their gag reflex will probably not be working properly and they could choke.
“Also, do not give them coffee in an attempt to sober them up as coffee dehydrates the body, as does alcohol. In addition, cold showers raise the risk of developing hypothermia.”