Earlier this week, a young man at the University of Tennessee was transported to the hospital for alcohol poisoning with a blood alcohol level that exceeded .40% after having consumed wine at a fraternity. This would seem to be a relatively routine phenomenon at a local university, meaning an Underage person attended a frat party and consumed too much alcohol. However, this man consumed the alcohol rectally through what is referred to as an alcohol enema or "butt chugging." Maybe it is a sign that I am getting old, but my initial thought upon reading the article was that I was missing something. I couldn't imagine that people would actually put something in their butts in order to get drunk more quickly. According to news reports, 12 people at the fraternity were cited for Underage Drinking, but the reports did note state whether or not any other people were involved in the butt chugging incident.
Excessive Drinking Not New to Penn State
When I attended Penn State in the late 1990's, many people consumed excessive amounts of alcohol and did so in a quick manner by "funneling," meaning pouring large amounts of beer in a funnel, putting the funnel into one's mouth, and allowing the alcohol to flow directly into one's stomach. Other people chose to participate in keg stands. Either way, large amounts of beer were consumed in a very short amount of time. While these methods were unsafe and led to alcohol overdoes, the methods were slightly safer that the alcohol enema. By consuming the alcohol orally, it must pass through the stomach and thereby be absorbed slightly more slowly into one's system. Also, the stomach sometimes rejected the large volumes of alcohol being consumed and led to vomiting. By being consumed rectally, the alcohol is absorbed almost immediately into one's system and there is relatively no limitation to the amount that can be consumed. Clearly, this new fad is much scarier.
Possible Criminal Charges for "Butt Chugging"
Obviously, someone under 21 could be charged with Underage Drinking, but, in general, I do not believe that excessive drinking would lead to criminal charges for the person consuming the alcohol. If the person went outside, then they could be charged with a summary offense of Public Drunkenness, but, as long as they remained inside, they would avoid such a charge. What I foresee as a problem is whether a person that assists with the butt chugging could be charged. A misdemeanor charge of Reckless Endangering Another Person prohibits a person from recklessly engaging in conduct which places or may place a person in danger of death or serious bodily injury. Basically, the charge prohibits a person from engaging in conduct that the person should know is likely to result in serious bodily injury. The question becomes whether or not a person should know that helping another person consume a box of wine in a few minutes is likely to cause serious bodily injury. The same box of wine that would normally be split amongst a few people and consumed over the course of a few hours. I do not foresee criminal charges being filed in a routine situation, but, if a person suffers a permanent injury or possibly dies from this fad, I see the family of the victim looking for "justice" and pressuring a district attorney to pursue criminal charges.
Penn State Needs to Say No to Butt Chugging
Hopefully the publicity that this "butt chugging" case has garnered will show the dangers associated with an alcohol enema and convince college students to forgo trying this new fad. I am hopeful that alcohol enema is not a fad that becomes popular at my alma mater of Penn State. Our university has undergone enough adversity and embarrassment in the recent past, and we do not need something like this to further tarnish our reputations. Go State.