Amarillo, TX - Alcohol consumption among teens is being taken to a whole new level, a very dangerous one.
Area students are trying alcohol in ways that you may never have thought of.
The community is working to put a stop to these hazardous new trends.
Within the last few years, different ways of getting a buzz have surfaced and spread nationwide.
More recently, there are disturbing trends that can be fatal.
I spoke with several school districts in our area who are trying to promote awareness before its too late.
"The girls are getting tampons and soaking them in vodka and doing it during school or at parties," says Juan Batres, Area Student, Senior.
It's not the type or content of alcohol that's changed, it's the ways teens are drinking and it's becoming scary.
"Now we are seeing you know things with tampons and alcohol and so that is a major alarm," says Miss G., prevention specialist, Managed Care Center.
"Yea while they're doing the tampon thing, they're also drinking and i guess it makes them really nauseous which causes them to throw up and stuff," says Juan Batres, Area Student, Senior.
Mixing alcohol with different products can cause your body to have adverse reactions.
"You're quickly going to start a chemical burn that is very uncomfortable and can predispose to vaginal infections, bacterial, yeast and rectal scarring," says Dr. Brian Eades, OB/GYN.
Continuous use of this type of trend could leave you with long term damage.
"The worst circumstance is where they're drinking a lot plus they're doing that and they become unresponsive and that stays in place for hours and hours and hours, then you could get some significant skin and what we call mucus membrane damage as a result of what's a quite corrosive effect of alcohol. It causes problems the rest of their lives," says Dr. Brian Eades, OB/GYN.
"Once alcohol is in your blood stream and if it hasn't entered in the right way and processed through your liver, then you can actually have alcohol poisoning which can incur death," says Miss G., prevention specialist, Managed Care Center.
Recently, males in our area have begun to pour beer into different areas of their body.
"They want to get drunker faster. They don't want to waste time and drink four or five beers to feel drunk," says Juan Batres, Area Student, Senior.
Another new alcohol trend also comes as a shock.
"You're never going to look at hand sanitizer the same way now," says Miss G., prevention specialist, Managed Care Center.
"They put it in their hands and act like they're using it and instead they lick it," says Emily Faux, Area Student, Freshman.
"This one here has sixty-two percent alcohol but you know, they range from sixty to seventy percent alcohol. So we are alerting the dangers of hand sanitizers and it seems like we need to show the teachers, you know, all the things that can go wrong in a classroom just as simple as a hand sanitizer," says Miss G., prevention specialist, Managed Care Center.
What you may find even more alarming is the age at when these trends are being tried.
"Definitely middle schools, it seems like it's starting out in the middle schools and transcending to the high schools," says Miss G., prevention specialist, Managed Care Center.
The problem will only grow if nothing is done to stop it.
"There's just so many things going on and we really need to be on top of it and show our educators and the community that if anything new happens that we really need to address these issues," says Miss G., prevention specialist, Managed Care Center.
That's exactly what school districts in our area aim to do.
Whether they've seen any of these trends happening among their students or not, they all agree on doing one thing...promoting awareness of the effects of alcohol.
"I think it's very important for them to at least have knowledge and education on what it can do to you. I feel like almost every kid thinks, 'that will probably never happen to me' and obviously statistics prove otherwise," says Allison Harvey, teacher, River Road High School.
Hereford ISD watches students coming to and from school.
"When students come to school, we do not allow open containers. So if they have something that has a twist top or an open cup, they have to dispose of it as they come to school," says Kelli Moulton, superintendent, Hereford ISD.
Canyon ISD sent us a statement saying, "We are definitely proactive, as maintaining a safe and secure school environment is a priority. We monitor students and report any type of inconsistency in behavior."
AISD has a grant in place which allows them to offer alcohol awareness events and activities to their students to help reduce underage drinking.
"One of the strides we have made is that our binge drinking, that has dropped approximately five-percentage points, which has been good since we started the grant. Another thing that has been very positive is the thirty day use of alcohol, that also has dropped about five-percent," says John Spradling, awareness project director, AISD.
They say they want students to be well educated.
"You know what's in one beer, you might know what's in one shot but you wouldn't have any idea what was in any other way that you would ingest alcohol," says John Spradling, awareness project director, AISD.
In the worst case scenario, AISD says a student caught in possession of alcohol at school could possibly face criminal charges.
That's why everyone has come together to warn students of all the consequences.
"Very very important to educate our children because you know they need to get the facts from adults like us instead of their peers. Their peers are going to say, 'hey yea do it, you know it's okay,' but you know, once they get the information hopefully they can make the right choice and not do any of these things that I've talked about," says Miss G., prevention specialist, Managed Care Center.