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Six More ‘teen Trends’ to Worry About, from Freon to Whip-its

Posted on the 26 April 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Teenaged drug users

Teenage drug users? Photo. credit: kr4gin

This week, the media was awash with stories of teenagers in America chugging hand sanitizer in a misguided quest for a good time and landing in hospital, suffering from alcohol poisoning.

What ever happened to those innocent, halcyon days of sniffing glue?

The Los Angeles Times branded the phenomenon a “dangerous trend”, though evidence that more than a handful of teenagers have been experimenting with the mind-altering effects of hand sanitizer is limited. Some commentators have flagged this story up as a case of an easily panicked media, while still others have pointed out that if kids hadn’t thought to drink hand sanitizer before, they may now.

Drinking hand sanitizer: Is this really a thing, critics ask

But what are the other “dangerous trends” right-minded parents ought to be protecting their children from? Here’s our handy guide to all the things the media says your kids are doing that they’re probably not.

Back in January, 49-year-old actress Demi Moore was hospitalized after she reportedly collapsed while doing whip-its – inhaled shot of nitrous oxide, whether from a canister of the gas or by “huffing” the gas out of a can of store-bought whipped cream. As we noted at the time, if you were a bored teenager in the mid-‘90s and you were bored, but some parents in America saw this as yet another innocent household product ruined by these kids these days.

The Choking Game
This “trend” periodically surfaces in media reports, usually after a child has died from reportedly engaging in the practice, which involves cutting off one’s oxygen supply in an effort to experience a “high”. A CBS report from 2009 noted that documented cases are “few”, but not before claiming that it’s a “growing trend”. In fact, however, the American Centers for Disease Control identified only 82 probable cases from between 1997 and 2007. The report also flagged up some “warning signs”, including bloodshot eyes, marks on the child’s neck, and the child keeping a rope or plastic bag.

Gawker’s guide to things your kids probably aren’t doing, from Pharm Parties to “Sex bracelets”.

According to a November 2011 report on a California Fox affiliate, the latest scary trend among teenagers was huffing Freon, the chemical coolant that used to be used in refrigerators and air conditioning units. The report recommended parents check their air conditioning units to see if the “Freon is running out faster than normal” if they suspect their child is huffing the stuff.

Vodka eyeballing, butt chugging and booze-soaked tampons
Teenagers are nothing if not creative and consuming alcohol through one’s mouth is just so passé. Over the last few years, teens in the UK and US have apparently been consuming alcohol by pouring vodka directly into their eyeballs, snorting the alcohol up their noses, soaking tampons in vodka and inserting it into their vaginas or rectums, or “butt chugging”, where beer is introduced rectally by using a funnel and hose. Though there may be a few horrifying YouTube videos to back up the claims, skeptics note that there’s little to suggest that these alternative ways of consuming alcohol are really that widespread.

Skeptics have cast doubt on this report, claiming that anecdotal evidence – if it’s even accurate – does not a trend make.

Vanilla extract
This is actually a thing: Vanilla extract is usually around 35 percent alcohol by volume; enterprising teens and drunks have used the sweet substance, usually used in baking, to get wasted. Mix it up with Coke and it’s actually a pretty tasty, if desperate, way to get drunk. As with any alcohol, however, please remember to drink responsibly, unlike this Tennessee woman, who was arrested on her fourth DUI with the strong scent of vanilla on her breath and several bottles of the stuff rolling around her car.

Cough medicine
This, like vanilla extract, is actually kind of real, though perhaps not as widespread as the panicked headlines might lead one to believe – around 1 in 14 American teenagers has reportedly drunk over the counter cough medicine to get high. In the US, some cough medicines are now kept behind the counter in an effort to deter teens from “Robo-trippin’”, as the kids may have called it once a long time ago.

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