Police Warned About New Drinking Game That Could Leave Teens Blind
Washington Post via YellowBrix
May 26, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC – Drug prevention advocates are warning Maryland police and schools to caution students against pouring vodka in their eyes as graduation and Beach Week approach.
“Younger teens who are the high school drinkers are the ones who are going to end up trying to do this,” said Mike Gimbel, Baltimore County’s drug “czar” for 30 years and now president of a substance abuse consulting firm in Maryland. “They are going to go to Ocean City, and some of these idiots are going to do it and make themselves blind.”
“Vodka eyeballing” is a fairly new method of alcohol intake thrust into the national spotlight by a London tabloid. Hundreds of YouTube videos document the practice — and every time, the “eyeballer” screams in pain when alcohol meets the eye, whether by way of a shot glass or straight from the bottle. Doctors warn that the practice can lead to blinding.
Gimbel said he is sending out immediate alerts to state police, schools and parents.
Three 2009 college graduates living in the District of Columbia told The Washington Examiner that eyeballing was a common party stunt. They said they wished to remain anonymous to avoid being associated with the practice.
“Every time, it was a big spectacle where people were like ‘what the hell is that kid doing,’ " said one graduate, who compared the feeling to getting shampoo in the eye.
Another said he had tried eyeballing a few times.
“It stings for a couple seconds,” he said, adding that snorting bourbon is much more popular.
“It feels like a baseball bat hitting you in the back of the head — for about two to three minutes,” he said of inhaling caps full of the American-style whiskey.
Like snorting alcohol, eyeballing “gets you drunker faster on a lot less vodka,” said optometrist Stephen Glasser, who has been practicing locally for more than three decades. “When you go through your eye to your sinuses, it is close to straight injection. The alcohol absorbs into the bloodstream right away.”
Maryland optometrist Alan Glazier compared eyeballing to an alcohol enema.
“In essence, you could melt the cornea,” he said.
Some doctors and college administrators are skeptical that eyeballing is a growing trend.
Gimbel said the reality of the trend is “secondary” to the fact that “when kids start seeing the videos, they are going to try it.”
Two years ago, YouTube helped make alcohol inhalation recreational in Britain and, soon after, in the United States.
“It got totally out of control rather quickly, with lots of people ending up in the hospital,” Gimbel said.