Underage Drinking Dangers

Experts say that during adolescence, certain areas of the brain have not finished developing and excessive drinking can impact essential functions such as learning, memory, reasoning and judgment. Binge drinking among teens and college-aged adults is on the rise. Learn about dangerous alcohol trends circulating amongst young people today.

Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks
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," E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork 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."

"A lot of kids think [alcohol and caffeine] cancel each other out, because the caffeine delays the feeling you get from the alcohol," pediatrician Dr. Jim 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.

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,” plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon says. “The effects are instantaneous and the potential consequences are devastating.” OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson 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.

Anal Beer Bongs
When consumed orally, alcohol goes through the stomach, passes into the bloodstream and is filtered through the liver, which is the body’s natural detoxification system. When that system is bypassed, the alcohol is absorbed directly into the body and can have dire and deadly consequences.