HomeHealth & Behavior

7 dangerous teen trends

High school alcohol and drug use is on the decline, But older kids are finding dangerous ways to push boundaries. Here are 7 of the most frightening teen trends.

By Lauren Shanley


In this age of technology, it's not surprising that entrepreneurs are trying to create a way to get high online. The result is a phenomenon called "I-dosing," which attempts to alter consciousness via sound. The Internet craze has teens plugging in their headphones to listen to downloadable MP3s that are said to have effects akin to getting high on actual drugs. There are various tracks designed to elicit the same "high" as specific drugs. Anywhere from five to 30 minutes long, the tracks consist of binaural beats, in which the tone of one frequency is played into the right ear and a slightly different frequency is played in the left ear. While some parents have expressed concern that the trend could lead to future use of other narcotics, researchers say that I-dosing itself is harmless.

Purple drank

purple drank

Popularized in the late nineties rap scene, purple drank has been abused by teens for decades. Rap music is still peppered with references to the substance, and more teens have been brewing the concoction at home. By adding cough syrup with codeine to a soft drink and candy (usually Sprite and Jolly Ranchers), tweens and teens create what they consider a quick remedy for tension, anxiety, and aggression. The drink can be made with the over-the-counter medications like Robitussin DM, which contains dextromethorphan. Normally used as a cough suppressant, in large doses this substance causes hallucinations. A single use can be lethal to an inexperienced user. Other possible side effects include drowsiness, inability to concentrate, slowed physical activity, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and slowed breathing.


planking on bridge

While its origins have been disputed, one thing can’t be denied: Planking has taken over as a new teen trend. The activity consists of lying face down — like a board — on any and every surface. Participants snap a photo and upload it to the internet, where planking groups have proliferated to immortalize the most daring or silly pictures. It has caused numerous injuries and at least one death when a young man tried to plank on a balcony and plummeted seven stories. In most cases, planking is relatively harmless, but parents should remind teens to use common sense and safety while participating.

Vodka eyeballing

vodka eyeballing

Afraid to be caught with the smell of alcohol on their breath, many kids have taken up the vodka eyeballing trend. Instead of throwing back a shot, teens hold the bottle to their eye and pour the liquid directly into the eye, which is laden with blood vessels. Here, the alcohol is quickly absorbed through the mucous membrane and enters the bloodstream immediately through the veins at the back of the eye. Eyeballing may yield a quick buzz without the bad breath but there can be extreme consequences:  Because most vodkas are between 40 and 50 percent alcohol, it can scar and burn the cornea, and even cause blindness.

The choking game

This potentially lethal "game" involves the use of restraints or the assistance of a friend to choke the player in order to cut off the flow of blood to the brain. The purpose is to obtain the high that comes when the restraint is released and the blood rushes back into the brain. In actuality, the "high" feeling comes from thousands of brain cells dying because of lack of oxygen, causing long term brain damage, comas, strokes, and bleeding in the brain (also known as "silent stroke"). Because there is never a way to know the exact time to let go, many participants pass out and some have actually hanged themselves. Most players are teens who want to get high without using drugs or alcohol. Although it is estimated that as many as 250 to 1,000 teens die from playing the choking game each year, most are ruled suicides.

"Bath salts"


The new drug sold legally as “bath salts” in head shops and liquor stores grabbed national headlines when it was outlawed by Louisiana in January 2011. Many states are trying to make the drug illegal, but since it takes different forms and combines different ingredients, state government officials have struggled with how to define the illicit substance. The bath salts have been found to contain mephedrone and MDPV, two drugs that cause severe hallucinations and psychosis in users who smoke, snort, or inject the substances. A single use causes intense cravings that results in three to four day binges and can end in suicide. Because bath salts continue to be legal in many states, some teens incorrectly assume the effects are less dangerous than other known narcotics. In the past six months, there have been over 3,470 calls to poison centers in 28 states to report incidents of bath salt exposure.

Overdosing on supplements


Studies indicate that as many as 40 percent of all young athletes take protein enhancements, which are available in forms ranging from bars to shakes to powders. While teens may take the supplement in order to improve muscle growth, muscle recovery, and overall athletic performance, there is no evidence that supplements are any more "enhancing" than a nutritious diet. In fact, such supplements can have harmful effects, such as weight gain, muscle cramping, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Creatine, which is found in many products, can actually interfere with a growing adolescent’s own natural production of creatine, making the body reliant on supplements. Overuse can actually cause blood acidity, which then draws calcium from the bones to counteract the higher acidity of pH in the blood, leading to declining bone strength and kidney stones formed by excess calcium. Advertisments for protein enhancements are ubiquitous in sports magazines, and the substances will likely continue to be popular because of the high protein to low carbohydrate and fat ratio, but parents and athletic coaches should monitor their use and encourage a healthy diet for teen athletes.

Comments from readers

"as a student, i can tell u that yeah kids do some retared stuff. i myself screwed up by bringing alcohol to school. not just college kids do it. and sheltering ur kids doesnt help it hurts them more and even if ur a stay at home parent kids will still try and may successed at doing retared possibly illegal stuff. "
"Pretty scary stuff! "
"I am 25 years old. I have heard of all of these things except for I-Dosing which OMG, wouldn't that burn? It's all about who you surround yourself with. There are cliques who do these things. I've witnessed it. People are stupid & think they are invincible. Parents need to educate their children on the dangers of this. I have a relative who overdoesed on bath salts. Thank the Lord she was okay. Be smart & live life the smart way. This whole YOLO crap, be safe about it. That is all. "
"Robitussin was being abused way before rap music dude, along with other meds: not to mention spices we use for our foods, Its a list. The voldka lol.. wow thats planking has to be the funniest, but if kids are doing these things play it safe and don't something silly is not worth you life! Get high on those books!!! "
"This article has to be the biggest load of crock I have ever read. I'm only 19, fresh out of high school and ive been too parties, gotten wasted, smoked pot, fooled around. But I don't know anyone who Does or has done half of this crap. Anyone stupid enough too choke their friend half too death or themselves for that matter, don't have what it takes too live in the real world. Planking.. honestly i don't even know what too say for that. If that's what kids are doing today, im afraid for my own future.. "
"I'm a high school jr and your average partying teenager. The vodka eyeball thing is so stupid. Why would you pour vodka in your eyeball?? and planking was a phase to all teenagers. "
"If the kids want to pour vodka in their eyelids and snort bath salts, I say let them! Natural Selection never hurt anyone. Anyone important at least. Hehehe... "
" We all know children did not come with a how to book , so mostly we have to trust are judgement and listen to our kids more do more things with them and listen some more, we all love our kids and want them to become great adults . Remember They are only acting on their feelings and still learning about the world lets direct them in the right ways . "
"In fifth grade, a friend and I tried hyperventalating. Realizing we were killing brain cells and may not wake up one time, we stopped. This Choking game seems similar with the same risks. Then in sixth grade, low potency pot and alcohol was the thing. After a few scars from bike wrecks and lowered social skills during high periods, that became a way to tolerate s-l-o-w teaching. Teachers can't keep up, so might as well s-l-o-w down for the way they teach. Now, doctor's call it ADD and the drug dealers profit. It wasn't until I became empowered with control over my sources of learning that getting high itself became boring compared to the thrill of learning things only "adults" were "allowed" to learn--like stem cell technology, banned-list books, alternative interpretations of G-d, truth, and the censored histories of civilization. In tenth grade, I tried huffing. I died, had an out of body experience, and am only here to tell you about it because some quick-thinking friends inadvertently started CPR. That was the last time I did that stupid thing. Let me reassure you that there is a Force (or G-d if you prefer), every experience, good or bad, contributes to your learning and development as a person, and if you use some common sense to recognize good advice from bad advice, you may live long enough to share your experiences with others. Learning is an addiction from which we all can benefit. But since anything can be published these days, be sure to check your sources. :-) "
"WOW for the eyeball and vodka thing just wow, what has the world come too? when teenages do all of these stupid things just for a momment of fun, like aghh Im a teenager but I know better than that I just wished they did to...... "
"I'm in eighth grade and honestly, I have never, ever seen this stuff happening around me. I mean, once, this girl brought some alcohol is this container and stuff, but she got caught. I think I vaguely remember hearing about the i-dosing thing on like, the radio, and I also heard about these college guys doing the vodka thing. BUT the choking game? Pranking or planking or whatever? I think my friends would laugh at me if I posted this to them. None of us have ever heard of this in MIDDLE SCHOOL. Yes, teens are outrageous...and the majority of us need to be slapped every day.....and yes alcohol and drugs are bad, but I can't understand why they make this generalization about us. Because of the horror stories, I can't have a boyfriend till I'm eighteen (and I've sworn abstinence!) I wouldn't do any of this stuff, and neither would a good part of teens today. Lord help us. (SOME OF THESE THINGS DON'T EVEN SEEM FUN!! CAN SOMEBODY ANSWER THIS?) Why would you do this vodka eyeballing thing? What is the use of planking? And the choking game? Are you suicidal or something? Why can't they just outlaw drugs? ..Oh wait, they do. Ignore that people. "
"I can believe a person can put alcohol in the eye. I imagine it is way too painful for a fun thing to do. Plunking is something that most children do. I did it when I was young without knowing it was dangerous. "
"Why is planking even on here? It's not dangerous at all. Unless somebody is stupid enough to try it on something like a balcony, there's no issue. Anyway, this article brings to mind a sketch from Saturday Night Live. "
"wow im your average partying teenager and i mean i party im 16 ive drank smoked and just had fun but NEVER HAVE I EVER thought to do many of these things . i planked when i was a lil tipsy and almost feel off the edge of a balcony so that was funny to mee. but the eye ball thing that must be a very undercover thing cause ive never heard of it. this article kinda taught me a little about the life ive been leading. a very mature life for a very imature little girl (: "
"Oh God, you can't be serious about the vodka eyeballing...? "
"BEWARE!!! New student moving to the Bainbridge area from Indiana. He will bring a couple new ideas with him. HUFFING......its the inhulation of Gas or Spray Paint. Inhailing even 1 time can kill you! Parents take caution of who your children hang around with and remember....people can always look nice on the outside. "
"This article was very informing as I live in Australia and am thinking of moving to America. Interesting to see what the US teens are up too. Very scarey stuff. Educating our kids is the key to a safer life. "
"I am in eighth grade right now, and I can honestly say that I have never, ever heard of such things. (And these things sound downright repulsive!) Though I cannot imagine teens participating in this sort of an activity, it is sadly a fact that some teens indeed waste their life on this stuff. I am actually quite shocked that some teens do drugs and such, but at the same time, it angers me to see that many adults think that MOST of us, if not ALL, do crazy, stupid things such as this. It just goes to show that such a association was made probably because a large lot of teenagers actually did do these sort of activities. (BTW, I DON'T. Just saying.) "
"You know, kids, if you get that angry about something like this, it's usually an indicator that you're guilty. I'm not talking about the ones who simply stated they'd never heard of this, but the teens who were aggressive in their comments. The purpose of this article was to make parents aware of things that some teens are doing; it in no way indicates that they believe all teens are guilty of these practices. Also, as I tell my students, without good grammar, you don't sound as knowledgeable and your argument loses merit. "
"This is ridiculous evryone is overeacting thins happens to every generation of kids i can almost guarentee that the generation before us kids/teens did the same thing and a numerber of the kids just now learned that you can get high on bath salt God This website is stupid think before you act and do something stupid. "
"My son is in high school--15 1/2. All along we've had pretty good open communication. He is aware of what's around him to some extent, and knows to stay away from those that do these sort of things---he thinks it's stupid and dangerous. I myself appreciate the article as these are things that we both, especially him, need to be aware of---better to know the enemy than be ignorant about it so that you are not surprised or caught ina dangerous situation. I used to think like that---"I don't want my kids knowing about these possible ways to get high", but now that I see what they are up against in this world, I think it's only to their benefit to be aware of what's going on. Peace. "
"Some of these trends and practices are old. However, they are still very dangerous and should be treated with education and extreme caution! "
"I think this shouldn't be put on a website for teenagers to read. Most of the teens I know have never even thought of these things. Maybe you should have a seperate page for parents only to sign in on for this type of information. "
"wow, I'm 15, soon 16, I've never had sex, used any narcodics or whatever, and think that 1) parents need to trust their good judgement, and 2) kids should trust their parents judgement back. seriously, though this sounds like college stuff more than highschoolers -peace out :) "
"I'm more concerned with the grammar of some these comments... "ON MY GOD. are all of y'all that paranoid?! I'm going to tell you something. less than 15% of high schoolers are participating in drugs and sex. and those who are are peer pressured into it. AND GETTING US TEENS TO CHURCH AND GIVING US VOLUNTEER JOBS WILL NOT HELP! We are not guinea pig that do everything you say! you know this already, most will skip the job and go somewhere else. Teens do these things because You as adults and parents keep such a tight grip on us. Its part of their rebellion against you. Lighten up. tell them not to do it. but don't go overboard. show them the picture of what happens to your body when you do drugs and alcahol- they'll quit or not start them- either works. " "
"Teens are becoming stupider every can tell by some of the comments left here. "
"What the . . . ?!?!?! I'm a teenage girl and I've only heard of planking, which isn't even dangerous!!! What is THIS....?? I wouldn't do any of this anyways....that's just plain retarded. "
"Well if some teen's hadn't heard of these things before well they've heard of them now... hmmmm maybe not such a good idea to talk about all of it in such great detail. :-/ "
"ON MY GOD. are all of y'all that paranoid?! I'm going to tell you something. less than 15% of high schoolers are participating in drugs and sex. and those who are are peer pressured into it. AND GETTING US TEENS TO CHURCH AND GIVING US VOLUNTEER JOBS WILL NOT HELP! We are not guinea pig that do everything you say! you know this already, most will skip the job and go somewhere else. Teens do these things because You as adults and parents keep such a tight grip on us. Its part of their rebellion against you. Lighten up. tell them not to do it. but don't go overboard. show them the picture of what happens to your body when you do drugs and alcahol- they'll quit or not start them- either works. "
"I'm 15 and I've never heard of any of this stuff except I-dosing. The trends now are wearing black and chopping off you hair too where it's spiky. But thats not me. I am my own person-and so are my friends. "
"I'm a teen and I've only even heard of 1 or 2 of these. I don't even know anyone who's done these "trends"! Parents are so paranoid nowadays... "
"I have to say: I'm a junior in highschool and have NEVER heard of any of this. Sure, purple drank, but that's only from references to the stuff and Dave Chappelle. Good to stay on top of things - even ahead of it, apparently - but I don't know if my generation has even caught up yet. lol "
"Our poor children are also snorting vodka... Oh the times we live in :( drug testing should be mandatory at our schools to keep the children safe.. I learned this the hard way.. :'( "
"Not all the teens are actually doing. I ts more like dyeing your hair black and blonde and claim your emo. Or just playing video game , skipping school, and playing jokes on your friends. There are people who do drugs, but if you drill your kid too much they will do it just to disobey you. So tell them and go on with life. They will listen. "
"Don't be indenial.......Sex and Drugs, Alcohol is being done at school on campus. Vodka in a water bottle with red coloring. It happens all the time. "
"I'm sure everyone already knows about huffing the computer cleaner stuff right? that is another very dangerous thing, it is legal and very lethal! Kids have died from that by doing it just 1 time.....friggin horrible to have to worry about things like this....My daughter is 10, I think once she hits high school, I'm becoming a stay at home mom.....just so I can keep her extra busy and keep an eye on things.... "
"yeah, im 15 and ive never heard of any of this. the trends are cutting your hair short dying it black and to be an emo. But dont get me wrong, im not one of those posers, im me. "
"Students are not only doing those dangerous things but, they are also skipping classes to have sex while they are on school grounds. I found this out the hard way. Parent's beware...We have been very protective of our adoptive child however if the schools aren't watching our kids there isn't anything we can do about it. "
"I have tried to comment several times but your site will not let me. Your statement is untrue. Drugs and alcohol are masked in different ways and more accessible than ever. Drug dealers are in your schools, at medical marijuana places or just in your neighborhood stores. Working parents are ignorant and need to get more involved. "
"Good information. The discussion with young people is vital. Every incident of escapism that involves physical or mood/mind alterations must be taken seriously. Awareness for both parents and youth always helps. Any dialogue that fosters consequential thinking is beneficial. Please continue providing these types of articles. "
"God, What next? Every time a parent thinks he is on top of what is out there for our kids, another thing is added to keep us vigilant in keeping our kids safe and secure. "
"my two LEST FAIVORITs are vodka eye balling, and the choking game "
"Please please read this, even if you think you're child would never do this. It's better to be armed with the knowledge. "
""My God what kind of Society do we live?" In that our children have no regards for their own lives." We must all work in unison to help our children "Thrive to Stay Alive" and be more productive for they are *Our Future* Prayer helps "
"Kids have been doing stupid (and dangerous) things for decades. We parents need to keep abreast of what potential killers are "in vogue" "
"I want to thank you for this posting my kids are young, but I like staying on top of things because you never know whaat they can get into anymore. "
"It's really sad how kids are coming up (sometimes adults introdrucing)new ways to get high. And the amazing thing is how it catches on so quickly. "
"Just FYI! Mama "
"God help us all "
"Sounds like kids/teens don't have enough of a real life to be engaged in with; too much time on their hands. I say, get them back to church on Sunday, have them volunteer at shelters/ hospitals/ libraries, and most impoortantly of all, parents Love your children; pay attention to them on everything they do! "
"I'm an RN in an Emergency Department and haven't heard of some of these things. It's horrifying to know our children are doing these things. Thank you for brining these dangerous "Trends" to our attention! "