Ways Teens Are Getting Drunk Without Drinking Alcohol

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Children and teens are discovering and trying new ways to get drunk without drinking alcohol in order to avoid detection. They are often trying to disguise the smell, get drunk in public places or hide their using from their parents. Each year, the amount of underage drinkers continues to rise. This results in an increased number of alcohol related injuries and death. While new methods are being used by teens to get drunk without drinking alcohol, it is expected that the numbers will continue to rise.

Teens Drinking Alcohol Leads to Injury and Death

In a 2019 report conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, roughly 7 million teenagers reported drinking more than just a few sips of alcohol within the previous month. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death for teenagers throughout the U.S. In addition, alcohol use by teenagers leads to a higher rate of other life-altering incidents. This includes injuries, physical assault, sexual assault, lower grades, and lesser brain development.

How Teens Get Drunk Without Actually Drinking Alcohol

Teenagers and children are quickly learning about alternative ways to get drunk without drinking alcohol. Reasons for doing so include trying to avoid being caught drinking. Another reason is wanting to become intoxicated more quickly, and being able to get drunk in public without drawing attention. Some individuals merely want to experiment out of curiosity or may be giving into peer pressure.

Here are some of the methods young people are using in order to get drunk without actually drinking alcohol:

Inhaling Alcohol

Some teenagers are turning into junior scientists by converting alcohol into vapor in order to become drunk. Some people pour alcohol over dry ice in a narrow container and then inhale the vapor through a straw. Others insert a bicycle pump needle into the cork of a bottle containing alcohol. They inhale the vapor as they pump air into the bottle. Because this method circumvents the liver and goes straight to the lungs, it makes a person more susceptible to alcohol poisoning. Some people utilize heated alcohol vapors, which can damage their lungs and brains. 

Vodka-Soaked Tampons

This method sounds unbelievable, but remember that teenagers often do things on a dare without regard to their own safety. The trend involves soaking a tampon in alcohol, usually vodka, and then inserting it vaginally or rectally. This allows the alcohol to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This makes this method extremely dangerous. If too much alcohol is absorbed, this method does not allow a person to vomit since the alcohol never entered the stomach.

Vodka Eye-Balling

Another hard-to-believe method teenagers use to try to get drunk involves their eyes. Some people claim that applying vodka to their eyeballs causes rapid intoxication. However, medical professionals find this unlikely. Only a small amount of alcohol can be absorbed through the eye. Getting drunk through vodka eye-balling is practically impossible. Vodka eye-balling can cause serious damage to the outer layer of the eyes. This can cause infections and potentially impair vision.

Soaking Food in Alcohol

Many times people use fruit to absorb alcohol, providing teenagers with the idea that they can avoid drinking. They instead believe they can eat their way to being drunk. Some young people soak food, most popularly gummy bears or fruit, in alcohol. The belief is that consuming them allows for a quick ability to become drunk. 

This method also offers the benefit of disguising the smell of alcohol, as well as makes it appear as if kids are just enjoying an innocent piece of candy. This method can be dangerous because a person cannot determine how much alcohol they consume, which can lead to unsafe levels of intoxication. 

Consuming Hand Sanitizer

While the idea of eating hand sanitizer repels most people, teenagers will often try outlandish ideas. The recent fad of consuming laundry detergent on a dare shows how an immature mind can contribute to making poor health-related decisions. Composed of 65% ethyl alcohol, which is the equivalent of 120 proof alcoholic beverages, drinking hand sanitizer is a dangerous endeavor. Many teens have been hospitalized for alcohol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizer.

Signs of Underage Drinking

It is no secret that many teens choose to consume alcohol whether it be from peer pressure or rebellion. But how severe is this growing problem throughout the United States? 

In a 2019 report conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, roughly 7 million teenagers reported drinking more than just a few sips of alcohol within the previous month. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death for teenagers throughout the U.S. In addition, alcohol use with teenagers leads to a higher rate of other life altering instances; injuries, physical assault, sexual assault, lower grades and lesser brain development.

Signs of Underage Drinking

Even with the discreet methods teens are using to get drunk without actually drinking alcohol, there are many signs of alcohol abuse that may be present. Parents can learn to detect signs of alcohol use in their children, which helps them intervene either before an addiction develops or in time to get treatment for one already occurring. 

Signs of alcohol use by teenagers can include:

  • Changes in mood, such as irritability, anger, and/or depression
  • Abrupt changes in friends
  • A sudden change in interests
  • Grades suddenly decrease
  • Low energy level
  • Slurred speech
  • The smell of alcohol
  • Dissociation with family members

Preventing Teens from Abusing Alcohol

Whether your goal is to help prevent your teenager from trying alcohol in the first place or you suspect they are already using or abusing it, multiple approaches to address these situations exist.

Educating Teens About the Dangers of Alcohol

With alcohol only being a legal substance for those age 21 and up in the United States, parents may find it easy to overlook the real danger of their child consuming it before they reach that age. Having open conversations about alcohol and the risks associated with it has been proven to be an effective measure towards preventing alcohol abuse at an early age.

Parents should open an ongoing dialogue with their teenagers about if they feel pressure to drink and how they handle it. They can provide children with information about the dangers of alcohol use and abuse, including the ones associated with trying to get drunk without drinking alcohol.

Interventions for Alcohol Abuse

If a teenager already has become addicted to alcohol, an effective approach to begin treating it involves staging an intervention. An intervention is an organized effort conducted by one or more people who confront the teenager about their alcohol abuse. Families commonly benefit by hiring a professional interventionist to help organize the event for their loved one. The interventionist will help the family present rules or guidelines and may offer addiction treatment for the individual.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment for Teens

If an addiction to alcohol has already taken hold of a teenager, inpatient and outpatient treatment centers offer programs to help them achieve sobriety. Parents should do research to find a facility that treats underage clients with the level of care they need. 

Teenagers entering formal treatment programs may agree to do so after a conversation with their parents or an intervention takes place. However, certain states have laws that will allow parents or caretakers to send their children to an addiction treatment center without their consent.

A variety of levels of care for teens who are addicted to drugs or alcohol exist. These programs include Detox, Inpatient Treatment, Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Outpatient Programs, and various aftercare services, such as our Men’s Sober Living.

Men’s Sober Living in Torrance, CA

Many teenagers engage in experimenting with alcohol without realizing the risk of it turning into an addiction. When teens are getting drunk without drinking alcohol in order to hide their drinking, there is a greater risk of them developing an addiction. New Life House Recovery Community in Torrance, CA, offers help for young men struggling with an addiction to alcohol. We designed our men’s sober living facility program to help individuals learn to focus on and build a strong, long-term recovery so that drugs and alcohol no longer factor into their lives.

If you or a young man you love need help with sobriety, we can help. Our treatment plans include therapy, medication management, and learning important life skills. We provide a program that helps families contribute to the healing of their loved one, as well as an alumni program to help our clients stay in recovery once they leave.

If you are ready to begin a new life of sobriety, contact New Life House Recovery Community today at (888) 357-7577. We are happy to answer any questions you have about our life-saving program. 



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