Experts need to be aware of the practice of alcohol enemas (also called “butt chugging”), because it may be happening on college campuses.
It’s become a punch line on shows like The Soup and rated an entry in the Urban Dictionary, but the topic of “butt chugging” and alcohol enemas isn’t really a laughing a matter. On the surface, it’s just plain gross. Consuming alcohol through the rectum might be done to bypass the vomit reflex and provide faster absorption into the body, equaling a quicker and more potent intoxication which can also mean greater tissue damage.
Alcohol enemas are not a new practice. Some sources suggest that Mayan priests used to engage in the practice, mixing alcohol and powerful tropical hallucinogens. It is only newly popular and in the news thanks to an incident at the University of Tennessee, a school that The Princeton Review named one of the nation's Top 20 party schools.
A student was admitted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in late September 2012 after he arrived at the hospital unconscious and with a blood-alcohol content of .45 -- five times the legal limit. The media later reported that the student achieved the blood alcohol level via an alcohol enema. While the student at the center of the incident denies he ever participated in the practice, police stand by their story, saying they found blood around the Pi Kappa Alpha house, including in the bathroom and the toilet, and found injuries to the student’s rectum.
The problem really isn’t how the student managed to ingest that much alcohol, it’s that he was able to at all. UT is supposedly a dry campus, although its rules do allow exceptions when entertaining alumni, donors and special guests at a variety of locations around campus. Blackout drinking is certainly not unique to UT though. It is happening on other campuses and in fraternities all around the country. Incidents like this one are a good reminder for school officials and parents to drive home the message that drinking can be dangerous and doesn't need to be part of the official college experience.
For those students who still think it’s cool, read the news reports from the UT incident. Rectal damage, defecation and emergency room visits are likely to make you more popular or help you find the job and future that you want.
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