(NBC) - It's the dangerous new way teens are getting drunk -- and it's going viral. Now doctors say it could be deadly.
called "smoking alcohol." You don't drink the booze, you inhale it.
Sounds bizarre, but those vapors give you an instant high.
the problem: Doctors say it's incredibly , dangerous and can be
extremely addictive. Pure alcohol shooting into your brain. Doctors are
issuing an urgent warning: Don't try this at home.
your teenager has seen it on YouTube, where hits are exploding into the
millions: vaporizing alcohol. It looks like a game, but doctors say it
can be deadly. One video shows teens putting a small amount of vodka
into a plastic bottle, pumping it with air, and sucking in the potent
fumes. They do it with beer, whiskey, Champagne, the list goes on. And
within seconds, they say, they're drunk.
"These videos scare the hell out of me," says Steve Pasierb, who runs the partnership at drugfree.org. "It's binge drinking in an instant. It's like doing five or six shots into your bloodstream right away."
the danger: When you drink alcohol normally, the liquor takes time to
affect you, first going into you stomach, then slowly processed in your
liver, and about 20 minutes later, into your bloodstream. But smoking
alcohol is absorbed instantly into the lungs, racing to the brain. And,
doctors say, it can poison you faster.
"The normal sensation when
you drink and you get, you feel like you're more drunk, is to vomit:
It's your body's way of expelling alcohol," explained Dr. Robert
Glattner of Lenox Hill Hospital. " However, when you inhale alcohol,
your brain has no way of expelling it."
And there's more.
Experts say some of these videos lure teens in with false promises, like
"this can help you lose weight." Or that you can hide your drunkenness
from police and your parents.
"It's in your lungs, it's on your breath," Steve Pasierb told us.
"Then you can get a DUI from it?" we asked.
"Absolutely. You can get a DUI. It will be in your blood system."
As for the weight-loss claim, Pasierb said, "When you're consuming alcohol, you are consuming calories, period."
myth out there is that smoking alcohol isn't illegal, because you're
not drinking. Not true. We checked with criminal defense lawyers who
told us that no matter how you consume alcohol, it's illegal under 21.
is so new that there are no hard numbers yet on how many kids have
ended up in the hospital from smoking alcohol. But doctors say it may be
hard to tell when someone is sick from regular drinking or this: They
test your blood and it shows you have alcohol poisoning, but doesn't say
whether you drank it or smoked it. But ER doctors tell us they're
watching for it now.
Sunday, August 20 2017 8:43 PM EDT2017-08-21 00:43:03 GMT
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