The parents of Auckland student James Webster who died following an apparent alcohol overdose at the weekend have spoken out about their loss and the dangers of youth drinking.

The 16-year-old King's College student died in his sleep after drinking straight vodka at a birthday party on Saturday.

Speaking on TVNZ's Close Up tonight, Charles and Penny Webster said they wanted people to learn from their son's death.

"Look after your mates, don't let them get drunk. Stop them drinking, encourage them to be fun people, not comatose drunkards, and, when they do get to that point, for God's sake ring the ambulance," Mr Webster said.

"Alcohol is a very, very dangerous drug. Hard liquor is completely poisonous to us and unless taken with care and moderation it will do this to you. Unfortunately, through the result of his own actions, he ended up dead and he's left his family absolutely devastated."

Through tears, Mr Webster said he and his wife would never be happy again.

"When you think of the effort you go to to bring up your child, the help that you give him to get involved in sports, the effort you go to to help him through a school project. How much more help would you be prepared to give him to save his life?"

Mrs Webster said she and her husband had not known their son was at the party, and that they would have picked him up and taken him to hospital if they had.

"Apparently he was drinking out of the vodka bottle, drinking it like water," she said.

"An hour later he was found in the toilet inside unconscious. One of his mates went and got an adult who carried him out. The adult, I believe, placed him in the recovery position on the grass."

Mrs Webster said she was not pointing the finger at anyone, but said she hoped people in the same situation would call an ambulance and get help.

She said adults needed to recognise a teenager who was dangerously drunk.

"If there's no response, their eyes aren't opening and they're not talking, then they need help."

- NZPA