The dangers of excessive alcohol consumption

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - What is alcohol poisoning and at what point can excessive drinking become lethal? That's an important topic under discussion following the recent hazing death of a student at Louisiana State University.

In general, blacking out or unconsciousness can happen when a person's blood alcohol content reaches 0.20. A person with a BAC value above that faces possible death.

Death may occur from alcohol poisoning itself or from choking on one's own vomit.

“Usually when you drink enough that you black out or start vomiting, you take a risk of aspiration. And that’s what a lot of people die from is aspiration, sucking in vomit through their lungs when they’re trying to breathe,” says Jared Coats, a paramedic Metro Ambulance Services in Meridian.

Medical professionals say the exact level at which this happens depends on the individual.

“Everybody, based on body size, mass, tolerance, how long you’ve been drinking, stuff like that, just experience with your drinking and alcohol can affect what your tolerance level is and what level of alcohol affects your cognizance,” Coats continued.

Of course, if you encounter someone who is passed out due to alcohol use, contact 9-1-1 immediately.

In the LSU case, nine students are facing misdemeanor charges and one student has been charged with negligent homicide in the death of Maxwell Gruver. He died after being forced to drink excessive amounts of alcohol at a fraternity event.