Alcohol Education Information

Paula Wilkinson Smith is the Prevention Specialist for wellness initiatives. She also works with Western Dakota Tech, Oglala Lakota College, and Black Hills State University-Rapid City through funding obtained through the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety. For more information, contact Paula at South Dakota Mines Counseling by calling 605-484-7261, or e-mail:

Safe Drinking Guidelines

  • Set a limit before you go out and stick to it.
  • Limit the amount of money you are going to bring with you.
  • One drink per hour--no more than three per day.
  • For some people drinking is not safe (family history of alcoholism, medication, depressed, pregnant).

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning: How to Help a Friend

Symptoms of alcohol poison

  1. Person is unconscious or semi-conscious and cannot be awakened.
  2. Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin
  3. Check to see if breathing is slow, less than eight times per minute, or irregular, with ten seconds or more between breaths.
  4. Vomiting while "sleeping" or passed out, and not waking up after vomiting.

Take Action!
If a person has any of these symptoms, he or she is suffering from acute alcohol intoxication.

  1. Get help, 911 if you are off campus or 9-911 if you use an on-campus phone. If in the residence halls, also call a staff member.
  2. Do not leave the person alone. Turn the victim on his/her side to prevent choking in case of vomiting.
  3. Always be "better safe than sorry" if you are not sure what to do. How can your friend be angry about you caring for him or her?

Blood Alcohol Level: Influences on Feelings & Behavior

Blood Alcohol Level

   Influence on Feelings and Behavior

.00 - .04

  • Acts as a stimulant
  • People experience positive feelings
  • No brain functions impaired
  • Reason may be impaired due to lower inhibitions

.05 - .06

  • Acts as a depressant
  • Effects begin to change mood, behavior, driving ability
  • Stronger emotions--elation--mood swings
  • Desire for more to drink
  • Slower reaction time

.07 - .10

  • Poor judgment
  • Loss of coordination
  • Inflated sense of self as soon as inhibitions are lowered
  • DUI

.11 - .15

  • Major impairment of all physical/mental functions
  • Irresponsible behavior
  • Difficulty standing, walking, talking
  • Intoxication
  • Unsteady, clumsy
  • Boisterous
  • Speech impaired

.16 - .20

  • Confusion
  • Dazed
  • Needs assistance walking
  • Severe intoxication
  • Increased severity of all negative effects
  • Pass-out zone

When and How to Refer Someone to Counseling Services

When to Refer . . .
  • Someone tells you that they think they might have a drinking/drug problem.
  • Someone tells you that they have been arrested/written up for an alcohol/drug-related incident.
  • You notice that someone misses early morning or evening classes because of partying or the aftermath of partying.
  • Someone continually sleeps in class.
  • You notice that someone's mood changes drastically and there is evidence that they have been drinking/using.
  • Someone who makes extremely negative statements about self and others.
  • Someone who looks disheveled or has a drastic change in appearance.
  • Someone is withdrawn and does not interact with others.
How to Refer . . .
When Confronting Someone About Drinking / Drugging . . .
  • Don't do it while they are drunk/high--it gives them excuses and they might not remember.
  • Start by saying something like: "I'm going to tell you this because I'm worried (concerned, alarmed, etc.) about you." These words might just make the difference in the person's life.
  • Offer support in beginning the process--let them call or e-mail for counseling services from your phone/computer. Make an offer to come with them to their appointment.
  • In the near future, ask them whether or not they followed through.

Links to Additional Resources


Need Help?

We have a staff of counselors available to help you, anytime.

Office Phone:
Counseling Email:
Location: Surbeck Center, Main Level (across the hallway from the Dean of Students' office)   

Duane Kavanaugh
Director of Counseling
605-394-1924 or

Chelsey Groseclose
605-394-1924 or

Megan Laskowski
605-394-1924 or

Amanda Swan
Volunteer Counselor
NCC, LPC-Supervisee

Stress and Depression Screening Tool