Creative Ways Teens are Abusing Substances

over the counter drugsTeenage drug and alcohol abuse is nothing new, but now teens are finding new ways to get high and drunk. With increasing restrictions and penalties, they are getting more and more creative. Most of these are potentially fatal, and all of them do bodily harm.

Some of these methods may shock you, but it is important to be aware that abuse happens in many different ways aside from drinking, shooting up and smoking.



  • Teenagers have found a way to get drunk fast and disguise the smell of alcohol. Eyeballing is when a person pours alcohol directly into the eye, quickly absorbing into the bloodstream through veins in the back of the eye.

Drinking hand sanitizer

  • Hand sanitizers contain 62% ethyl alcohol, which can cause a quick buzz but be potentially lethal. Foam hand sanitizer makes it more difficult to extract the alcohol, so opt for that over the gel form. Some kids are also drinking mouthwash and vanilla extract for the same effect.

Vodka-soaked Feminine Products

  • Reports have been floating around for a few years now about teen girls (and boys) soaking feminine products in alcohol before inserting them into their bodies. The alcohol immediately absorbs directly into the bloodstream. It is exceptionally dangerous because users will not show common signs of alcohol poisoning, like vomiting.


Cough medicine

  • Known as “purple drank” and “sizzurp,” this concoction is a mixture of cold medicine, a soft drink and Jolly Ranchers candies. It is often glorified by rappers like Lil Wayne and athletes. Robitussin and Delsym are popular choices and may also be known as “Tussin” and “Orange Crush.”

  • Kids are also using pills containing dextromethorphan (DXM), which gives a similar high to codeine. Contained in Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, the drug can cause hallucinations and out-of-body experiences.



  • Inhalation includes huffing, dusting, sniffing and bagging, where a person inhales chemicals to get high. By soaking bags or rags in chemicals, the participant then breathes from the cloth or bag. Cleaning supplies, spray paint, glue, gasoline, nail polish remover and more can all be used as inhalation products. Effects are similar to those of alcohol, including slurred speech, dizziness, confusion and nausea.

Choking Game

  • Also known as the Fainting Game, the Pass Out Game, Space Monkey and Black Out (among others), children as young as 8 or 9 are using asphyxiation to briefly feel high. The participant has a friend (or can easily use a rope or scarf) strangle him or her until oxygen is cut off. Once the grip is released, the rush of oxygen to the brain results in a high. Look for marks or bruises around the neck, bloodshot eyes and the presence of items like leashes, ropes, belts, scarves, bungee cords etc.

If you have concerns about your teenager trying drugs and alcohol, contact Test Smartly Labs in Kansas City. We can run drug tests and help your child begin to make the right decisions.

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