What is Acute Alcohol Intoxication?

Alcohol plays a major role in American and European societies. People drink champagne when they celebrate promotions, engagements, weddings, and births. They drink beer when watching sports, and they have wine with dinner. They have cocktails at networking events and parties, and hard liquor when having shots with friends.

Alcohol can be fine when consumed in moderation, but it has a darker, deadlier side. When someone drinks too much at one time, they can put their life at risk. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), each year hundreds of people lose their lives due to “acute alcohol intoxication,” which is also known as alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose.

“Alcohol poisoning, like other drug overdoses, can occur after the ingestion of a large amount of any alcoholic beverage, including beer, wine or distilled spirits (so-called “hard liquor”). But inexperienced drinkers, or those sensitive to alcohol, may become acutely intoxicated and suffer serious consequences after drinking smaller amounts,” says the NCADD.


Acute alcohol intoxication occurs when someone drinks too much alcohol in a short timeframe. It typically happens at high school parties, on college campuses, and anywhere that people are engaging in heavy drinking. If you ever see someone drink so much alcohol, you’re concerned their life is at risk, call 911 immediately. You could save a life.

What the NCADD wants you to know:

  • It’s illegal for anyone under 21 to possess alcohol in the U.S.
  • It’s illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase alcohol in the U.S.
  • The health benefits associated with alcohol use; for example, drinking a glass of wine a day, does not start until a person reaches middle age.
  • Anyone who drinks alcohol can become an alcoholic.
  • The two major predictors of alcoholism are family history and the frequency of drinking.
  • Some people should NOT drink, including people who are about to drive a vehicle or operate a boat, pregnant women, and people who are taking prescription medications that interact with alcohol.

The message from the NCADD is, “Drinking too much too fast CAN KILL YOU.” So, when you do drink, make sure you do it in moderation and avoid drinking and driving.

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