When Drinking Alcohol Isn't Enough

A dangerous, albeit legal, practice of intaking alcohol via non-enteral routes is gaining more traction within the American populace, more so in the teenage to college-age population.  One such phenomenon is using alcohol-soaked tampons for a rapid intoxication.  Users of this method may operate under the misguided notion that this technique can avoid detection by breathalyzers.

In 2004, smoking alcohol started occuring in the U.S. with the release of an alcohol nebulizer.  This device was quickly outlawed; however in recent years, the trend appears to have increased dramatically.  There are several methods of vaporizing alcohol.  Alcohol in glass containers can either be heated or pressurized to release vapors.  Dry ice can be added to alcoholic beverages to release vapors, as well.  These methods are efficient and cause near-instantaneous effects.  However, by avoiding the enteric system, the warning processes of nausea and vomiting are bypassed and alcohol poisoning becomes more likely to occur.

Symptoms may include: confusion, seizures, bradypnea, irregular breathing, blue to pale skin, hypothermia, coma, or vomiting and subsequent aspiration.  These people are at risk of dying.

If you have a question about if a person has alcohol poisoning, call the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).