Wow. Not only do contemporary teens attend rainbow parties, have sex with people who can snap a cheap rubber bracelet, and sacrifice neighbourhood cats to Satan, but they also ingest alcohol through soaked tampons in order to get a faster, strong buzz. The police even say so.

Seriously? Goshers! Kids These Days.

That's the story going around. In fact, the story's been going around, cyclically, since the late 1990s. Supposedly, kids wanting to receive the effects of alcohol without the telltale breath have taken to soaking tampons with alcohol (usually, for some reason, vodka) and inserting them in their vaginas or rectums. According to a school resource officer from Phoenix, Arizona, "This is not isolated to any school, any city, any financial area. This is everywhere" (Quoted in Erwin). The officer could not cite any specific, documented incidents, but his comments found their way to Stephen Colbert. "No wonder the women in these commercials look so happy," Colbert opined. "They're hammered."

A few brave women, in the interests of research and journalistic accuracy, have attempted to replicate the practice. The results are rather predictable.

Firstly, tampons expand when soaked, so they're danged hard to insert anywhere.

Secondly, alcohol-soaked tampons, once inserted, really burn. Danielle Crittenden of The Huffington Post, who noted that the fact of having had three children may have facilitated even the possibility of inserting the thing, reacted with:

It felt like someone had thrown a lit match in there. I began hopping around and breathing in the rapid, short puffs I'd learned in birth classes, so long ago, before I realized I didn't need to breathe like that if I took the epidural.

"Aunt B.," a blogger who attempted a similar experiment (with many photos), found the soaked tampons impossible to insert, but they burned when she rubbed them against herself. Her conclusion:

The idea that kids are, in great number, just popping vodka-soaked tampons up inside themselves and going off to party with none the wiser that they'd been imbibing? Not happening. That's just not how tampons work.

Thirdly, a tampon soaked in this fashion doesn't contain any more alcohol than a standard drink, and most of that, it turns out, won't get absorbed in this fashion. And the breathlyzer would still detect it. In short, it's difficult, uncomfortable, and doesn't really work.

But have teens tried it? Some probably have. The more this story makes the rounds, the more likely some are to make the attempt. Unlike the sex bracelet and rainbow party stories of a few years back, this one doesn't require significant adjustments of plausible teenage social/sexual behavior. But the fact that some people may have tried it does not validate the story.

Remember, the suburban myth doesn't claim that a few twits are trying to get high by shoving alcohol-soaked hygiene products up various crevices. End the sentence, "a few twits are trying to get high by..." with anything horked up by a random word string generator and you'll produce something that may have happened once or twice. No, the recurrent panic articles claim this is a growing trend, part of coming of age in the twenty-first century. And it just ain't so.

If your kids are getting intoxicated, they're doing it the old-fashioned way: through drugs, beer, and the occasional cocktail. A Bloody Mary, perhaps.



Aunt B. "In Which I Debunk the Vodka-Soaked Tampon Myth." Tiny Cat Pants. November 11, 2011. http://tinycatpants.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/in-which-i-debunk-the-vodka-soaked-tampon-myth/.

Stephen Colbert. The Colbert Report. November 14, 2011.

Danielle Crittenden. "Bartender, A Dirty Martini with a Tampon!" The Huffington Post. November 21, 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/danielle-crittenden/vodka-tampons_b_1105433.html.

Elizabeth Erwin. "Teens using vodka tampons to get drunk." CBS5Az.com. November 7, 2011. http://www.kpho.com/story/15981315/teens-using-vodka-tampons-to-get-drunk.

David Emery. "The Vodka Tampon 'Craze.'" About.com. December 6, 2011. http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/fooddrink/a/Vodka-Tampons.htm.

Barbara Mikkelson."Boozing it Up." Snopes.com. October 2009. http://www.snopes.com/risque/kinky/vodka.asp.

Jacob Sullum. "Vodka-Soaked Tampons are 'Everywhere.'" Reason.com. November 14, 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/14/vodka-tampon-teens_n_1092594.html.

"Vodka Tampons." The Huffington Post. November 14, 2011. Updated November 14, 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/14/vodka-tampon-teens_n_1092594.html.

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