It is perfectly normal for teens to enjoy thrills. Their brain is in a phase of development particularly suited to thrill-seeking. And because they are young with relatively little life experience, it is also common for them to feel invulnerable. They are strong and healthy and they cannot imagine not being so.
It’s also normal for teens to begin exploring who they are as individuals. With this comes trying new things; including risky behaviors like alcohol consumption. When they do participate in alcohol consumption they are looking for ways to hide it. Here are some ways that teens attempt to hide alcohol use from their parents.
1. Smoking Alcohol
Teens think that if they don’t drink alcohol mom and dad won’t be able to smell it on their breath. This and the thrill of feeling drunk almost immediately are behind the new smoking alcohol craze. Teens are pouring a small amount of alcohol (beer, spirits) into an empty pop bottle and then pumping
that bottle with air. This high pressure tactic vaporizes the alcohol which teens simply inhale for a quick buzz.
Smoking alcohol is incredibly risky since it enters the bloodstream almost immediately. The risks for alcohol poisoning and addiction are high. And kids are completely wrong about mom and dad not being able to smell it on their breath. Since the alcohol fumes go into the lungs, the alcohol smell will be on
2. In the Eyes
Another way teens try to keep mom and dad from smelling alcohol on their breath is the crazy practice of pouring it directly into their eyes. Since the eyes are highly vascularized the alcohol does enter the bloodstream quickly and the teens do get drunk faster. And it is true that the alcohol will not be on
their breath. It is also true that pouring alcohol directly into the eye can permanently damage delicate eye tissues.
3. Vodka Tampons
Boys and girls are using tampons to hide alcohol use from parents. Teens are soaking tampons in hard liquor, like vodka, and then inserting them into orifices (the vagina or rectum) for a fast drunk. These areas are also heavily vascularized meaning that they are prime sites for quick entry into the
bloodstream. Teens can get drunk and never have a wisp of alcohol smell on their breath.
4. Alcohol-soaked Gummy Bears
Another trick teens use to hide their alcohol consumption is to soak gummy bear candies in alcohol. Teens can eat the candies, even in front of adults, with no one the wiser. Parents will be able to smell the alcohol on their breath however.
5. Snorting Alcohol
Snorting alcohol through a straw is another way kids try to get drunk quickly without any telltale clues for mom and dad. Like pouring alcohol into the eye, the alcohol does enter the bloodstream rapidly. Also like in the eye, the caustic alcohol can do harm to delicate tissues inside the nasal
Parents who talk openly with their teen about the realities of thrill-seeking and limit-testing are in a good position to speak equally openly about the risks of alcohol use. It is also important to make your home free of temptation by keeping alcohol out of reach.
Guiding teens through these years is a daily challenge. Parents can stand together though and send a message that while they understand their teen, they are committed to keeping them safe.
Participating in the Youth Alliance program BC Rocks is one way for parents to hang together on the issue of drinking. Parents can go to http://www.bcrocks.com/ to sign a pledge and help create a community of safety and sobriety for teens in our area. Check it out today.