A coroner has urged parents and young people to understand the potentially lethal impact of heavy drinking after a King's College student drank himself to death in Auckland last May.

Coroner Gordon Matenga suggested parents and schools develop alcohol awareness programmes to teach young people about being safe with alcohol in his findings into the death of James Webster.

The secondary school student collapsed unconscious after drinking spirits at a 16th birthday party in Auckland.

Taken to a friend's home to sleep it off, he was found dead the next morning.

Mr Matenga, said Mr Webster, 16, drank a lot of spirits in a short time.

He became drunk very quickly and died from alcohol intoxication.

"James' death is a reminder to all that alcohol can be a dangerous drug."

Parents and youths should be aware that at very high levels alcohol could cause a person to become unconscious, he said.

"As a result that person has less control of breathing and is in danger of their airway becoming blocked. That person may also vomit and aspirate vomit. Death may result."

He also said if a person lost consciousness because of alcohol the safest first aid treatment was to call an ambulance.

"If an ambulance is not available someone will need to keep watch over the unconscious person until they have recovered."

Anyone consuming 250 millilitres or more of 40 per cent proof spirits over 30 to 60 minutes, may have drunk a potentially fatal dose of alcohol without feeling drunk, he said.

James died on May 9, 2010 from acute alcohol intoxication, Mr Matenga said in his findings.

James drank several shots of Jagermeister and vodka. He was seen to drain the last 50mm of vodka from the bottle. The drinking was over 90 minutes.

When he collapsed unconscious and was sick, adults at the party decided he should be taken to the home of one of the party organisers to sleep it off.

His breathing and pulse were normal and he was responding to external stimuli.

He was checked between 1.30am and 2am but was dead when checked again about 7.15am.

Mr Matenga said a copy of his findings would be sent to the Families Commission, which played a part in shaping government policies that promote or serve the interests of families.

"It would be in the interests of families to develop and promote alcohol awareness education at home and in schools, to develop resources to assist and support parents and families in teaching young people about being safe with alcohol," he said.

- NZPA