Students experiment with dangerous intoxication methods

April 21, 2014 4:40 AMComments Off

Story by Molly Longman

Not all college students are satisfied getting drunk through traditional means anymore, i.e. drinking alcohol. They are finding creative ways to consume their alcohol, by smoking, injecting, eating and even more inventive techniques. However, many of these methods are dangerous and potentially fatal.

Smoking alcohol is a new way for people to get drunk. Alcohol is poured over dry ice and inhaled with a straw, or a DIY vaporizing machine made using a bike pump.  The inhaled alcohol vapor goes straight from the lungs to the brain and then to the bloodstream, creating instant intoxication.

Those who smoke their alcohol are at high risk for alcohol poisoning and overdose because the body cannot expel when it has alcohol. Damage to the lungs and respiratory system is also possible.

“Besides the obvious risk of causing damage to your lungs, especially if you have asthma or underlying respiratory issues, not knowing how much alcohol you’re consuming is dangerous,” said Janet Fink, an advanced registered nurse practitioner. “Especially in this case since the alcohol would bypass the stomach and liver, so the body can’t expel it by vomiting.”

Even with the risk, first-year Jared Turner said there is a mentality of wanting to smoke alcohol.

“Our generation is all about finding new ways of getting high. Smoking is a big thing these days and kids are more likely to do drugs, so if you can make alcohol into a smokable substance, why not?” Turner said.

Snorting and injecting alcohol are also new, dangerous ways people are inebriating themselves.

Injecting alcohol is taking the concept of “doing shots” to a whole new level. The alcohol is injected directly into the blood stream with a needle. Like with smoking alcohol, injecting alcohol is risky.

“If you don’t use a sterile needle, you could be exposing yourself to hepatitis and HIV,” Fink said. “And it’s a direct route to the blood stream, so again, it would be easy to overdose.”

Snorting alcohol can damage the mucous membranes in the nose. Repeated damage over time can cause sinus problems or damage to the septum, which may require surgery.

One of the more horrific ways people are getting drunk is “eyeballing.” A fairly simple tactic: Tilt the head back, apply bottle to eyeball, tip and cry out in pain. The appeal is that the alcohol is supposed to have a more direct route to the blood stream so inebriation occurs more quickly. However, it is also a more direct way to cause permanent optic damage and even possible blindness.

These fads have gained popularity among people who are focused on losing weight and do not want the calories that come with drinking alcohol.

“These trends just prove that today’s generation of college students are too worried about body image,” said first-year Rachel Berggren.

Fink said body image issues go beyond just college students.

“That’s our society in general. People are out for the perfect body. People are more worried about what they look like versus the consequences they might face. They don’t see the risks that are involved,” Fink said.

A few slightly more grotesque ways of getting drunk without actually knocking anything back include soaking tampons in alcohol and alcohol enemas, also known as “butt-chugging.” Both are great ways to potentially cause permanent damage to the membranes and linings of the vagina or bowel, while getting tipsy.

To learn more about the risks and responsibilities of consuming alcohol, get in touch with Drake’s BACCHUS program, a student organization that encourages responsible use.

If you find yourself or someone you know intoxicated and in need of assistance on Drake’s campus during Relays or at any time, call Drake Direct for a ride, Drake Security or 911.

To call Campus Security from on campus, dial 2222. To dial from off of campus dial 271-2222.

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