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Incident prompts alcohol poisoning warning

Posted: September 3, 2013 6:11 p.m.
Updated: September 4, 2013 5:00 a.m.

A Lugoff juvenile suffering from alcohol poisoning was taken to the KershawHealth Saturday.

According to a Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) report, the teen went to the Lugoff-Elgin High School game and was to stay with a friend. The boy’s parents told a KCSO deputy that his friend’s parents called the family and told them that their son was passed out in her front yard, and was bleeding from his nose, having difficulty breathing and aspirating. The family immediately drove to the woman’s house and took their son to the hospital, where they were informed that he drank “about a bottle of vodka.”

While everything turned out alright for the juvenile, and the family chose not to pursue an investigation to see where their son got the alcohol, not all teens survive alcohol poisoning, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) website. Underage drinkers are at “particular risk” for overdose, it said. People suffer from alcohol poisoning when excess alcohol in the system causes brain function to shut down.

ALPHA Center Executive Director Paul Napper and Prevention Director Tina Griggs said instances of alcohol poisoning in the county aren’t high, but do occur. Napper cited the Carolina Cup as a time when Kershaw County sees a lot of alcohol poisoning incidents.

“Alcohol is the No. 1 abused drug among teens. Many people think it is a coming-of-age rite, but it is a serious drug that has side effects and consequences,” Napper said. 

The ALPHA Center has an alcohol awareness program that allows it to go into schools, churches and community organizations to share the effects and consequences of teen drinking and alcohol abuse. Red Ribbon Week takes place during October, highlighting the effects of drug and alcohol use. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, Griggs said. Throughout the current school year, though, the ALPHA Center will be a part of Parent University at all four Kershaw County high schools to inform parents about the trends of alcohol use among teens. Not only is teen drinking illegal, Napper said, it can cause low heart rate, shallow breaking, seizures, nausea and/or death. Napper said it is common for people suffering from alcohol poisoning to pass out, but because their bodies are actually in a coma, similar to a medical sedation, they can end up choking on their own vomit resulting in death.

Griggs said to never leave anyone who has had too much to drink alone. Since teens know they aren’t supposed to be drinking, they usually get scared and leave a person who could be suffering from alcohol poisoning. Napper said people should be especially careful if anyone that has had too much alcohol is near water.

The county’s Alcohol Enforcement Team tries to monitor any areas or events where teen drinking may occur, but they can’t catch it all, Griggs said. In addition to the Alcohol Awareness Program, she said the ALPHA Center has an on-site library where it can help educate any parent or teen on alcohol by appointment or walk in.


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