Unusual drinking trends spill though college campuses

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Photo by Brittany McGrail / Brittany.McGrail@Marquette.edu

Upon entering college, one quickly learns drinking on weekdays — “Thirsty Thursday” in particular — is nothing unusual. But some drinking trends are just too strange and too dangerous to try.

For instance, have you ever taken a shot of vodka through the eye?

Throwing back a shot of pure vodka directly into the eyeball has become a tradition at schools across the country, according to the Huffington Post’s list of the 10 worst drinking trends on college campuses.

Optometrist Diana Penuela-O’Neill said this method is a surefire way to become inebriated quickly, but she wouldn’t recommend it.

Because the eye is made up of thin tissue, it absorbs alcohol quickly. However, toxic liquids — alcohol especially—can cause serious damage to the eyes, Penuela-O’Neill said.

“The alcohol, like any chemical, is toxic,” she said. “Such a high content of alcohol will destroy the tissue on the cornea and can cause corneal ulcers.”

The trend has not been seen on Marquette’s campus yet, but several students cringed at the thought of vodka burning their eye.

“Why would you purposely hurt yourself like that?” said Katie Lempke, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Other drinking trends found on the Huffington Post’s list include Whipped Lightning, Four Loko and suicide shots.

A can of the whipped topping Whipped Lightning has an alcohol content level equal to five cans of beer. No one is sure how to eat it, the Huffington Post reports: some put it on ice cream or pie, others just squirt it right into their mouths.

“Well, you could make spiked hot cocoa with it,” suggested Hazel Dehn, a freshman in the College of Communication.

Although Dehn has not tried Whipped Lightning herself, she knows of its popularity.

“My friend works in the liquor department at a grocery store, and he said Whipped Lightning is the first thing to go,” she said.

Most college students know about the “blackout in a can,” Four Loko. The part-energy drink, part-alcoholic beverage has proven fatal on several college campuses, including Florida State University.

The original Four Loko, which has an alcohol content of 12 percent and as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, is outlawed in several states. It is still available in a caffeine-free formula in Wisconsin.

“I’ve heard people are stocking up on it before it becomes illegal,” Dehn said. “But I don’t know how people can drink a whole can of that stuff.”

The final trend emerging among college students is a three-step process called the “suicide shot.” Drinkers inhale salt, take a shot of tequila and squirt a lime into their eye.

“Although lime is a more natural substance than alcohol, it will still cause a lot of irritation and inflammation in the eye,” Penuela-O’Neill said.

“The pain would be the equivalent of diving into salt water and keeping your eyes open,” she said.

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