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Inhaling alcohol is a dangerous trend

"If you do it too much at one time, it kind of overwhelms you," Broderic Allen told WFAA-TV, Dallas.

Therein lies the problem, medical professionals say. Smoking liquor sends the alcohol straight to the lungs and brain, bypassing the body's normal methods of processing it.

Dr. Harris Stratyner, Regional Clinical Vice President of Caron Treatment Centers in New York, said, “When you inhale alcohol, it goes directly into the lungs and circumnavigates the liver. The liver is what metabolizes alcohol, but when you inhale it, it goes directly from the lungs to the brain.”

“One of the things that prevents alcohol poisoning is that you usually vomit,” he noted. “When you circumvent the stomach and go straight to the lungs, you don’t have that ability.”

Smoking alcohol has been compared to a night of binge drinking in an instant. It comes with the risk of alcohol overdose or even poisoning and an unknown potential for brain damage.

Binge drinking for a male is five drinks in a row. For a young woman, it is four drinks in a row. So they may effectively get four or five drinks of alcohol by inhaling the vapors in a short period of time.

Inhaling alcohol has become more popular in the past year and a half, Stratyner said. “This is a stupid, highly dangerous thing to do. The fact that youngsters in particular can purchase the equipment for a relatively cheap price… this has to be made illegal.”

Videos on the Web claim that a minor can hide liquor consumption from parents and police by inhaling the vapors, but the alcohol still gets in a person's bloodstream and will register on a breathalyzer device or blood-alcohol test.

Plus it is against the law for anyone younger than 21 to consume alcohol - whether it be by drinking it or smoking it.

Written by: The Partnership at Drugfree.org and USA Today
Posted: Sep 10, 2013 by Lisa Callaham

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