Accessing Care

Calling EMS

If you are wondering if you should call EMS, then you should call EMS. 

For more information about Brown EMS follow this link.

If you need emergency medical help call 401.863-4111. 

What should I do if my friend gets drunk?

Do not let your friend wander off alone. You don't know where they might end up or what might happen.

If your friend is throwing up, let them get it all out. Do not force them to drink water. The stomach lining is too irritated to accept any food or water. Do not let them drink any more alcohol.

If you put your friend to bed...

  • Make sure your friend is lying on their side or stomach, with their face pointing sideways. If they throw up, they are less likely to choke in this position.

  • Cover them with a blanket. Alcohol dilates blood vessels and your friend will lose heat more rapidly than usual.

  • It's important that a responsible person stay at their side, stay awake, and watch them for several hours. You have to make sure they don't roll on their back and watch for changes in their condition. If you can't wake them easily to have a conversation (clear words and answers, not grunts), call EMS. 

When should I call EMS?

Call EMS at 401.863-4111 if:

  • your friend is "falling down drunk," or has problems with speech or motor coordination.

  • there are changes in their breathing, seizures, severe shaking, injury, continued vomiting, blood in vomit, or combativeness.

  • they are drunk and on any other drugs or prescription medication.

  • they have passed out. Their blood alcohol content could be going up rather than down and could lead to alcohol poisoning. You can't tell if their life is in danger. 

Will my friend get in trouble for drinking too much or for being underage?

Your friend will not have a discipline hearing if they need medical attention only for drinking or other drug use. Brown wants you to get medical help for your friends when they need it.

However, if they damaged property or broke other university regulations while drinking, there may be disciplinary consequences to those violations. 

Why should I call EMS?

Even if your friend has thrown up, their blood alcohol content (BAC) may still be rising as the alcohol left in their digestive tract enters their bloodstream. They could choke if they vomit in their sleep, or they could stop breathing if their BAC gets high enough to depress the central nervous system. EMS conducts an extensive medical examination to determine if your friend needs to go to the hospital or if they are capable of refusing treatment. Don't take a chance with someone's life. 

Is EMS free?

Brown EMS is a free service provided by the university. This is the case no matter how many times you call EMS. In rare cases, when Brown EMS is already on a call, Providence Rescue or a private ambulance service may be called to evaluate and treat an intoxicated student. In these situations, the student is responsible for the expense of the ambulance and the treatment.

When a student needs to go to the hospital for emergency care, any emergency room and hospital charges are the responsibility of the student. Sometimes insurance will cover these costs but you need to check with your insurance company. If you have the insurance that's available through Brown, you can contact the Office of Insurance and Risk at 863-1703 for information on your insurance coverage. 

Why do Public Safety officers accompany EMS?

Public Safety accompanies EMS for 2 reasons: to provide access to the building and to provide protection for the EMTs. This allows EMS to focus on treating the patient.

Public Safety officers are required to file an incident report whenever they are called. This report is NOT the same as an EMS report. EMS is a part of Health Services, and all EMS reports and procedures are confidential. 

Will there be any follow-up to calling EMS?

Yes, any time a student receives medical care for intoxication or injury as a result of alcohol or other drug use, the student is referred for a required follow-up appointment with BWell Health Promotion.

These appointments are strictly confidential. Just like EMS and Health Services, Health Promotion cannot and will not release any information without a student's written permission. The purpose of these appointments is to provide educational information about alcohol and other drugs, discuss the student's risks based on their pattern of use and work with the student to reducce risk in the future. 

When are there disciplinary consequences?

If a student violates University policies (offenses like fighting, vandalism, injuring others) while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, this is cause for disciplinary action. 

What if I can't pay for the hospital bill?

There may be funds available to help you through the Campus Life Emergency Fund (also known as E-Gap Funds). You will fill out a very brief application and then Campus Life will contact you. 

  • 401.863-2794
    Health Promotion
  • 401.863-3953
    Health Services
  • 401.863-6000
    Sexual Assault Response Line
  • 401.863-4111
  • 401.863-3476
    Counseling & Psychological Services
  • 401.863-4111