Teenage Drug and Alcohol Abuse: The Latest Trends

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Teenage drug and alcohol abuse often follows disconcerting trends, which evolve and change over time. In today’s wired society, these trends can go viral before parents and professionals even know they are happening. In a matter of minutes, teenagers can view tutorials on anything, from lighting a cigarette to the dangerous new fad of ‘smoking’ alcohol. Let’s address this escalating trend and look at how it is affecting today’s teenagers.

Teenage Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Smoking Alcohol

The Trend

Instead of the traditional method of imbibing alcohol – drinking it – teenagers are experimenting with a risky new way of smoking alcohol. Teens inhale or ‘smoke’ alcoholic vapors and feel the effects almost immediately. YouTube is littered with how-to videos that teach people exactly how to do it, right from their personal devices. It can easily be done at home with a jar and a bicycle pump, and the novelty of the trend may be part of the appeal for teens. Just as with drinking alcohol, smoking alcohol can be highly addictive. This trend first appeared decades ago, but there has been a resurgence over the last 18 months.

The Myths

Teenage drug and alcohol abuse is rife with myths among the teens themselves, who often do not know the facts. Some teens believe that smoking alcohol helps you lose weight by reducing the number of calories consumed. Others believe that you can easily deceive parents and police if you become drunk through smoking alcohol, as opposed to drinking it. Furthermore, teens may believe that smoking alcohol is legal, because you’re not actually drinking it. None of these myths are true.

The Dangers

Teenage drug and alcohol abuse is often characterized by overdoing it, when a teen does not know their limits. When one drinks alcohol, it passes through the liver into the bloodstream. If someone drinks too much alcohol, it can trigger vomiting, which eliminates the poison from the body. When alcohol is smoked, the fumes go directly to the lungs without being metabolized. From there, it passes easily through the bloodstream to the brain, providing instant intoxication. It is difficult to tell when you’ve had too much, and the brain is unable to tell the body to vomit it out. Inhaling vaporized alcohol can also be detrimental to your lungs and nasal passages, as it can be dangerous to inhale a substance that could revert to a liquid form.

The Outlook

Experts do not yet know the numbers on how many teenagers have ended up in hospital as a result, because when a person suffers from alcohol poisoning, the method of ingesting it is not clear. Doctors fear that smoking alcohol can have irreparable consequences, including death. Unfortunately, bars in the US have adopted the trend and are legally selling a ‘Vaportini,’ using dry ice to create a potentially hazardous cocktail. Teenage drug and alcohol abuse is affected by adult actions. If we condone these behaviors, teens may perceive that they are not dangerous. Through education and raising awareness, we can combat these unsafe trends in teen drug and alcohol abuse, hopefully eliminating them from the social sphere.