Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States. Drinking alcohol is the most common method of alcohol abuse.
Another method of alcohol abuse is alcohol plugging, which refers to the administration of alcohol into the rectum.
Terms used to describe alcohol plugging include:
- alcohol enemas
- rectal alcohol use
- rectal administration
Like drinking, plugging alcohol can cause intoxication. Alcohol plugging also carries many health risks, including a higher risk for alcohol poisoning, rectal damage, and addiction.
How Does Alcohol Plugging Work?
Alcohol plugging involves administering alcohol into the rectum by way of the anus. This can be done using a funnel, rubber tubing, a syringe (without the needle), or by using a tampon.
The goal of alcohol plugging is to absorb the alcohol into the rectum to reach the colon. From there, it can be very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Tampons can also be soaked with alcohol and inserted.
Inserting alcohol this way allows the alcohol to bypass the digestive system, which contains an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase. This enzyme breaks down the ethanol in alcohol to make it less toxic.
Why Do People Use Alcohol Enemas?
Plugging alcohol can cause an intense and near-immediate buzz. This is because inserting alcohol into the rectum allows the alcohol to become rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Alcohol plugging, or butt-chugging, has become increasingly popular on college campuses as a party activity. This introduces a social aspect to the act of alcohol plugging, which may also increase peer pressure.
People may try using an alcohol enema at a frat party or at home to satisfy a curiosity, or to experiment. Unfortunately, this can become dangerous very quickly.
Side Effects Of Plugging Alcohol
Plugging alcohol may lead to near-immediate intoxication. This can cause a range of physical, mental, and psychological effects.
Plugging alcohol may cause the following side effects:
- decreased coordination and balance
- nausea and vomiting
- slurred speech
- slowed reflexes
- memory problems
- poor judgment
- mood changes
- feeling of warmth
The intensity of these side effects may vary according to factors such as age, weight, alcohol tolerance, and co-occurring health conditions.
Dangers Of Alcohol Plugging Enemas
Alcohol plugging enemas carry serious health risks and dangers. If you or someone you know is plugging alcohol, it’s important to know what can happen in case you need to seek help.
Alcohol enemas, or butt-chugging, carries a high risk of overdose, also known as alcohol poisoning. This is because of how quickly alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and the amount of alcohol that can be absorbed through this route.
Alcohol poisoning is a life-threatening condition that develops when your blood alcohol level has become too high.
If someone you know is unresponsive or has passed out after butt-chugging, call 9-1-1 or poison control for immediate medical care.
Signs of alcohol poisoning can include:
- blacking out
- severe confusion
- slow or irregular breathing
- low body temperature
- bluish or pale skin
Alcohol enemas allow the alcohol to bypass the digestive system. This means that your body won’t respond to alcohol poisoning in the same way that it would if you were drinking too much.
You won’t be able to vomit up the alcohol. Since the alcohol hasn’t been absorbed through the stomach, you won’t be able to regurgitate it, although you may still experience dry-heaving.
Alcohol plugging can cause damage to rectal tissues, the colon, intestinal damage, and potentially cause brain damage.
Stunted brain development from alcohol and brain damage from excessive drinking is a high risk for young adults under the age of 25.
Plugging alcohol into the rectum may damage the membranes and tissue around the rectum, which can make the body more vulnerable to diseases and infections.
Alcohol Plugging And Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Alcohol use can cause poor judgment and reduced inhibition. This can make some people more willing to engage in sexual activity while intoxicated. People who are intoxicated may be at greater risk for having unprotected sex.
Alcohol enemas may cause tears near the rectum. If you’re having anal sex, these tears can become entry points for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
If you’re sharing plugging equipment, failing to lubricate the equipment properly, or inserting the alcohol improperly, this can increase the risk of developing infections and causing rectal or colon damage.
Myths About Alcohol Plugging
Butt plugging has gained increased popularity in part due to myths that have been spread about how it works and its effects.
Here are some of the most common myths about alcohol plugging:
- You don’t absorb the calories of alcohol when inserted in the butt: FALSE
- Alcohol enemas can’t cause long-term damage if I just do it once: FALSE
- Butt chugging doesn’t carry a risk for addiction: FALSE
- Butt chugging is a fun party trick: FALSE
People can still become addicted to alcohol when administering it into the rectum. It’s possible you might actually develop a higher tolerance to alcohol much faster.
Furthermore, butt-chugging can also be life-threatening if you use too much alcohol or have a very low tolerance for alcohol. Plugging drugs, including alcohol, can be dangerous.
Treatment For Alcohol Plugging And Addiction
Alcohol plugging can be a sign of alcohol addiction, which may require professional treatment. If you’re struggling with alcohol abuse: you’re not alone.
Alcohol abuse treatment programs integrate behavioral healthcare with medical care to address the root causes of alcohol addiction and its effects on your health and wellbeing.
Treatment options for alcohol abuse include:
- alcohol detox
- inpatient alcohol rehab programs
- outpatient programs
- substance abuse counseling
- 12-Step programs
- support groups
If you or someone else you know is abusing alcohol, it’s never too soon to seek help. Call our helpline today for more information about alcohol plugging and how to find treatment.
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- CNN—Experts: Alcohol enemas ‘extremely dangerous’
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus—Blood Alcohol Level
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI—Self-administered alcohol enema causing chemical proctocolitis