Why Walking Home After Drinking Can Be a Deadly Exercise

Man walking on dark street alone at night

Consider a group of young adults out at a bar for the evening. Maybe it’s St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve. Or maybe one of the group is celebrating a twenty-first birthday. Whatever the event, it involves free-flowing alcohol. It’s late and the party is breaking up. Some people take taxis home but one of the group just lives several blocks away and decides to walk home. That turns out to be a deadly decision. His friends never see him alive again.

Does this sound like fiction? Unfortunately, it’s not. Walking home alone after drinking has had fatal consequences for too many young people. Take a look at some of these real-life examples.

On February 25, 2016 in Syracuse, New York, nineteen-year-old Alex Hendry left a party alone. His body was found in a field the next day. He died of hypothermia.

At 2 a.m. on May 1, 2015 in Wisconsin, twenty-year-old Bobby Sontag was walking home with a friend after visiting bars. The two separated but Bobby was never seen alive again. His body was recovered from the Kinnickinnic River a few days later.

In November 2015, twenty-three-year-old Anthony Urena was intoxicated when he left a New York City nightclub. His body was finally found in the Hudson River seven weeks later.

There are many more examples like these. An intoxicated person is liable to fall, drown, be assaulted, lose his way and freeze to death, or be hit by a vehicle.

Keeping Yourself and Your Friends Safe

If you see an intoxicated person decide to leave alone to walk home or to some other venue, the right thing to do is take action. Convince the person to get a taxi or rideshare, or a sober ride home from a friend. Another option is getting the person to a nearby hotel room. However, if he (or she) is only semi-conscious, there’s a chance he could lapse into an alcohol-induced coma or vomit and aspirate (inhale) the material vomited. This person should be taken to an emergency room for treatment to ensure he will live to see the morning.

If you have a friend who is likely to drink excessively, an even better action is to put an agreement in place on how this person will get home afterwards (if you can’t convince him to drink less or stop completely). Before he starts drinking, you have a better chance of obtaining agreement on his transportation plans. Drive him to the venue, make sure he has a phone programmed with the number for a taxi or rideshare and payment arrangements already made and then make sure he sticks to this agreement.

A smart move for many couples is attending an event like New Year’s Eve at a nice hotel and then booking a room for the night. Then the only adventure is making it up the elevator to the room.

Many people don’t realize the many risks of drinking to intoxication. A drunk person is defenseless and helpless to rescue himself if he falls into water or gets lost in the middle of a cold winter night. A little foresight will keep everyone safe.

These stories and many others can be found on this website:



Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.