Inhaling Alcohol: The Next Big Thing That Teens Are Doing
Once parents only had to worry about their teenagers drinking alcohol. Now they have to worry about their kids inhaling the substance as well. Alcohol inhalation originated around 2004, but seems to have been increasing in popularity over the past few years. It’s a process by which a person puts dry ice into a cup, pours in alcohol, and takes deep breaths. Those vapors go straight to the brain and lungs, and directly into the bloodstream. An alternate means of inhaling alcohol is pouring alcohol into a glass ball called a Vaportini, inserting a straw, and sucking up the vapors.
This procedure is extremely dangerous. People are at much greater risk of alcohol poisoning when they inhale the compound. For one thing, it’s impossible to keep track of how much gaseous alcohol you take in. In addition, when you drink alcohol, the body has ways of minimizing its effects: The small intestine and stomach lining absorb it, for example, and enzymes inside the liver break it down. And if need be, a person will vomit to expel excessive amounts of alcohol. But when you breathe it in, the body has no way of controlling this toxin. It’s also possible that alcohol inhalation is a faster route to addiction. That’s because this process sends alcohol to the brain so quickly that the body might want to replicate the rush as soon as possible.
What’s more, people who engage in the dry ice form of this practice chance carbon dioxide poisoning. That’s because dry ice is really just carbon dioxide in solid form; the gasses that this cooling substance emits are thus pure CO2. Effects of carbon dioxide poisoning include muscle twitches, headaches, high blood pressure and, in severe cases, hallucinations, panic attacks, and passing out. This kind of poisoning can even be fatal.
There are a couple main reasons why alcohol inhalation is becoming a trend among high school and college students. First, many young people view it as a way of getting heavily intoxicated quickly, a prospect that many teens unfortunately find thrilling. Also, some young people who are concerned about their weight believe that breathing in alcohol allows them to have fun without consuming the calories of alcoholic beverages.
It’s important to sit down with your children and explain the particular dangers of alcohol inhalation. You might be surprised at how kids often make the right decisions when equipped with the right information.
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