Vodka tampons to get drunk?
Robert Glatter, MD, Emergency Medicine, 10:19PM Nov 13, 2011
If you haven't already seen this in your ED, some female teenagers have a new and dangerous way that they are experimenting with alcohol--soaking tampons in vodka. Rectal use has also been reported with males and females as well.
Apparently, some teenagers believe that it is a more rapid, lasting and intense way to get drunk. Law enforcement as well as EDs throughout the country are seeing this in increasing numbers over the past year apparently, according to a recent news story out of Phoenix.
From a physiological standpoint, ethanol gets absorbed directly and rapidly from the vagina since its a highly vascular structure, and without any barriers, leading to higher serum levels of ethanol more rapidly.
Beer bongs have also been utilized rectally in the same concept as a vodka soaked tampon- leading to the same rapid effect of alcohol intoxication.
Teens apparently have turned to this method because they believe that they can hide the smell of alcohol from their parents as well as the police. They have also figured out that this method can avoid the nausea and vomiting and other obvious signs of ethanol intoxication- the only issue is that they often pass out before realizing that they have had too much to drink. (incidentally, it has been reported that a super tampon can hold about a shot of vodka, which is quite potent when it's absorbed directly into the bloodstream)
It is important to emphasize to teens that they will not pass a breathalyzer test because they didn't drink the booze-- the assay obviously checks for checks for a systemic alcohol level-not what is expired in their breath.
ER personnel need to be aware that patients who present to an ED with a depressed level of consciousness, without the smell of alcohol and clinical suspicion for ongoing intoxication need to have a rectal and vaginal exam to exclude tampons or other foreign bodies as a source of ongoing chemical intoxication. This could obviously lead to a delay in care (and diagnosis), as well as a source of ongoing intoxication, if this is missed on physical exam.
Robert Glatter, MD
I received this from a friend of mine who is a paramedic! I am so grateful I do not have teenage daughters, anymore! I really feel this is important, hence, I am blogging it. Awareness is always a key to understanding.