AN apocalyptic warning issued by a Phoenix, Arizona TV station a few weeks ago urged parents to be on the lookout for a "risky" new trend among teenagers: inserting vodka-soaked tampons into bodily orifices to get drunk.
"There's been documented cases of people going to the hospital with alcohol poisoning," high school resource officer Chris Thomas was quoted as saying. "This is not isolated to any school, any city, any financial area. This is everywhere."
Nor is the "trend" restricted to the female gender, apparently. "Guys will also use it and they'll insert it into their rectums," Thomas claimed.
He offered no details on the "documented cases" he claims exist, but one example Thomas may have had in mind is a report published March 24, 2011 in the German newspaper Südkurier stating that a 14-year-old girl in Konstanz, Germany was hospitalized after collapsing while in a "highly intoxicated" state. Doctors determined that alcohol was present in her bloodstream but found no traces of it when they pumped her stomach. Her friends confessed they had all gotten drunk together by way of vodka-soaked tampons.
Vodka tampons 'in vogue'
As in the KPHO piece, the Südkurier story characterizes the use of vodka tampons as something that is "in vogue," and "a very dangerous trend," even though only a single specific incident is cited. We've heard this kind of talk before.
In 2008, for example, an episode of the syndicated TV show The Doctors inveighed against "Disturbing Teenage Drug Trends" which included "anal beer bongs," "Strawberry Quick meth," and, of course, "vodka-soaked tampons":
Alcohol enters the bloodstream faster through mainlining, which is what happens when the alcohol is absorbed directly in the vagina or anus. "It’s just like injecting it," Dr. Ordon comments. "The effects are instantaneous and the potential consequences are devastating." Dr. Lisa adds that vodka soaked tampons will destroy the vagina’s delicate balance and cause bacterial and yeast infections, as well as crack and burn the vaginal tissue.
But the granddaddy of all alcohol suppository stories, dating back more than a decade, is this Reuters report filed on March 3, 1999:
Thrill-Seeking Teens Dunk Tampons in Vodka
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Some teen-age Finnish girls are experimenting with tampons dipped in vodka as a way of getting tipsy without parents detecting boozy breath, an anti-drinking group said Tuesday.
The group's executive director said he had received reports of individual cases of girls in eastern Finland using alcohol-soaked tampons, hoping the alcohol would then enter their bloodstreams.
The upshot is that we've been hearing off and on for 12 years that "thrill-seeking teens" are flocking to insert vodka-soaked tampons in their private parts to get intoxicated. Given the persistent Internet chatter about it, it seems reasonable to assume that a few have actually tried it at one time or another. But is this phenomenon in any sense an actual trend? Has it caught on to the point that teenagers everywhere are actually doing it?