Whether it's a setting their hair on fire or becoming a human billboard, people are pushing the envelope when it comes to dangerous stunts. "It's all about getting the hits on YouTube," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. "You do something crazy, you're going to get millions of hits, and you'll have your lip stuck to a wall." E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork adds, "It used to be a figure of speech, 'You're playing with fire. Now it's literal. Kids are playing with fire. It's dangerous."
A new, extremely unsafe trend some are trying is called a "tequila suicide," which involves taking a shot of tequila, snorting salt and squirting lime into the eye. "It's just going to cause pain," OB/GYN expert Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "It's not even going to cause you any euphoria. I don't understand."
Snorting salt can cause irritation, inflammation and infection, which can lead to tissue damage and a brain abscess. "It could kill you," ear, nose and throat specialist and plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon says.
"Besides that," Dr. Ordon continues, "squirting lemon or lime in your eye, if you don't get a corneal abrasion, we're talking blindness."
Driving While High
Priscilla, 25, uses medical marijuana under doctor's supervision to manage her chronic pain after a car accident. She volunteers to put smoking marijuana and driving to the test in a simulation to show just how dangerous it can be.
Blackout In a Can
Alcoholic energy drinks, which can contain as much alcohol as four to five beers and the same amount of caffeine as a tall coffee, pose a major hazard to those who consume the brew. They can cause blackouts and even a heart attack.
The Food and Drug Administration is banning alcoholic energy drinks from the market, and Phusion Project, the maker of Four Loko, a well-known alcoholic energy drink, has reformulated the beverage to remove caffeine. Despite these efforts, people are still able to buy the old version of the drink on the black market, or make a similar concoction of their own.
"Kids who are in high school are probably at the greatest risk for drinks like this, because kids in high school may be starting to experiment with alcohol," Dr. Travis says. "The concern is when you start to mix alcohol with caffeine and you're not familiar with how alcohol acts in your system, it can lead to problems."
Tommy, 24, drinks multiple alcoholic energy drinks in a sitting, in addition to several cups of coffee. "It's a great party starter," Tommy says. "It basically encompassed everything on a regular basis I like to take. As a college student, I'd have a couple drinks of coffee throughout the day, and then energy drinks and vodka when I go out.
"[Alcoholic energy drinks] are definitely the starting of the engine," he says.
The Doctors explain the dangerous effects of Tommy's drinking habits.
"A lot of kids think [alcohol and caffeine] cancel each other out, because the caffeine delays the feeling you get from the alcohol" Dr. Sears says. "So they don't think they have impairment. They think they can go out and drive, but they can't. Their blood-alcohol level is just as high as without the caffeine, but they don't feel it, so they wind up drinking more and more."
• Energy drinks aren't the only dangers facing young adults. Learn about a dessert danger that can put your kids at risk.
As the costs rise for cosmetic treatments in the United States, the trend of medical tourism, or visiting another country for less-expensive procedures, is increasing. But surgeries done in less-regulated countries come with risks.
"Forty percent of plastic surgeons have had to correct botched plastic surgery done overseas," Dr. Ordon says "There are a lot of great plastic surgeons outside of the United States," Dr. Ordon says. "But if you decide to go outside of the United States [for a procedure], you have to do your homework, just like you do here. Is the doctor, in fact, a plastic surgeon? Where is he working? Is it in an accredited facility? Is it clean? Just keep in mind that your doctor is going to be a long way away from you if there's a problem."