Alcohol

Butt Chugging: At Least As Big a Trend As Vodka-Soaked Tampons

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Unlike vodka-soaked tampons, which are "everywhere" (according to a cop quoted by a Phoenix TV station last year), beer and wine enemas "seem to be isolated incidents," according to a federal official paraphrased by CNN. The occasion for that reassurance: Over the weekend, Alexander P. Broughton, a 20-year-old University of Tennessee student, was treated at the school's medical center after achieving a blood-alcohol content of 0.4 percent, five times the legal cutoff for driving while intoxicated. Police called to the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house concluded that Broughton had absorbed the alcohol by funneling wine into his rectum. "This is extraordinarily dangerous," says Aaron White of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "but people shouldn't get the impression that it's a widespread phenomenon."

Or maybe they should. Last year's KPHO story about vodka-soaked tampons mentioned "butt chugging" as a variation on the theme. "Using a beer bong rectally is the same concept as a vodka-soaked tampon," Officer Chris Thomas told the CBS affiliate. A rehab center founder likewise tells CNN "he's seen an increase in risky behavior in young adults over the last year, from 'bath salts' drugs [which also can be consumed anally, I hear] to synthetic marijuana to vodka tampons. As their bodies develop a tolerance for toxic substances, abusers seek out stronger and faster highs."

Is that what Broughton was doing? Or was he simply behaving like a frat boy? (Since he was not a pledge, this seems more like a dare than a hazing incident.)  As Joslyn Gray observes at Babble, "you don't need a college degree to understand that it's never a good idea to get your party planning tips from a Jackass movie." While some may blame the media or even rubber tubing, boxed wine seems like the real culprit here, since the bags they contain are ready-made for enemas, while the low price and quality clearly are geared toward butt chugging. 

Although this complication should not stand in the way of a ban on boxed wine, Broughton's father is disputing the police account, saying his son consumed wine in the usual manner during a drinking game. The father says liver test results suggesting the wine was consumed orally and the accounts of his son's friends rebut the butt chugging claim. Police say their conclusion was based on interviews with Broughton's fraternity brothers, tubing and empty wine bags found at the frat house, and "signs of physical and possible sexual assault."

Nick Gillespie included butt chugging in his recent list of "5 Classic Teen Sex-and-Drug Freakouts." For what it's worth, I found a 1999 Reuters story about vodka-soaked tampons on Nexis, while the earliest reference to an "alcohol enema" was a 2005 Houston Chronicle story about Michael Warner, a 58-year-old machine shop owner who died from alcohol poisoning after a sherry enema. The Chronicle, citing a local detective, explained that Warner "had a long history of alcoholism, but couldn't ingest alcohol by mouth because of painful medical problems with his throat." The first reference to "butt chugging" I've seen is that 2011 KPHO story quoting Chris Thomas, but there may be earlier uses of the term. Urban Dictionary has an entry for the phrase dated June 10, 2011, but no examples of its use in print or online.

Update: A May 2010 Gawker post about butt chugging uses that term and cites several relevant videos, including a 2008 episode of The Doctors that is mainly about vodka-soaked tampons (which one panelist warns will "completely destroy the vagina") but mentions "beer bongs…into their anuses" toward the end.

[via The Week]

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