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Alcoholism in America: Recap of '20/20' Special "Intoxication Nation"

"Nowadays for some kids, pounding out shots of straight Vodka is lame..."

20/20 aired a one hour special "Intoxication Nation" last night, a report anchored by Elizabeth Vargas which discussed the great lengths teens are going to nowadays to get drunk. The special also discussed celebrity alcoholism, DUI wars, drinking while walking, hangover helpers and drinking in other countries. Below is a recap of the special.

Teen Drinking: Binging and Blacking Out

"Today for too many college students, blacking out is the goal," ABC's Chris Cuomo said. 

"And to get there faster they've come up with drinking games you'd almost have to be drunk to appreciate."

Kids are now going to blackout tour stops where alcohol poisoning and drunken disorderly arrest are common. 
20/20 touched base on how blackouts are celebrated and they used Katy Perry's video for "Last Friday Night" as an example in which she sings: "It's a blacked out blur but I'm pretty sure it ruled."

A group of 16 to 18-year-old teens in Tennessee talked about the blackout culture... getting as drunk as you can, as fast as you can. They said:

"I black out every single time I drink."

"I just thought of it as cool. Everybody is doing it, why not do it too?"

"I took alcohol to school."

"I killed a half of gallon my first time drinking."

"You would think the more you drink the better you'd feel and I would just drink more to feel better."

According to the CDC, 90 percent of alcohol consumed by underage kids is in the form of binge drinking.

Crazy clips were shown from YouTube on how to get drunk faster:

  • Tampon Dipped in Vodka
  • Eyeball Shots
  • Booze infused Gummy Bears

"I think the alcohol industry knows, what the scientific community knows, that the younger you are when you have your first drink, the more likely you are to become an alcoholic later on down the road," said Koren Zailckas, author of the book Smashed, her story of a drunken girlhood.

A 13-year-old also showed how easy it is to get alcohol for underage drinkers. He easily purchased hard liquor on eBay for home delivery without any proof of age. Now eBay is taking all measures to remove beer and spirits from the site.

Drinking and Walking

Besides drinking and driving, drinking and walking put people in even more danger. Internet videos were shown of people walking under the influence in which some stumbled and hit lamp posts and others were walking in the middle of the street.

Cases like this have become so bad, that it's becoming common for youngsters to walk home while intoxicated and walk into the wrong house. A young girl from Colorado named Zoey Ripple, stumbled into the wrong home just last year and got shot in the hip by the homeowners after she walked into their bedroom. Prosecutors made an example out of Zoey and besides getting shot, she also got charged for trespassing.

Just because you aren't driving under the influence, doesn't mean you can't get a ticket as a pedestrian. We've seen cases like this on the Jersey Shore, when Snooki walked around under the influence, made a spectacle of herself and was arrested and taken to detox.

Alcoholism has gotten so bad lately that now undercover agents go to bars and look for intoxicated people who may look like they're even THINKING about driving home, before they've even committed a crime. "So now, some responsible adults are getting harassed to take a breathalyzer before they can even drive."

"If you can't get drunk in a bar, where can you get drunk?," one lady said in an interview.

The 20/20 special also touched base on alcohol sensor devices that may go in each new vehicle. If someone doesn't pass the test in the car, the car won't start. Read more on this HERE.

Bombed motorists are responsible for an estimate 10,000 fatalities a year, 20/20 reported.

3rd Rock From the Sun actress and author of the new book GutsKristen Johnston, talked about her drinking and pills struggles and addiction. She spoke on the latest celebs displaying drunken behavior, like Charlie Sheen and said:

"We have some hot messes out there."

Kristen said she wouldn't call anyone after 8 p.m. because she didn't even trust herself drunk dialing. 

"I thought it was cool... you know, I could out-drink the basketball team," she tells Elizabeth Vargas.

She calls herself a functioning addict and said she would elegantly pass out after drinking about two wine bottles. After a near death scare of her stomach ripping, Kristen eventually went to rehab and has been sober for six years.

Hangover Cures

There is also something called a "Hangover Bus" going around in Las Vegas which may be good for a sudden hangover recovery. 

But, one doctor said there is no cure to hangovers, just temporary relief of the symptoms. The doctor also said, the only way to truly get rid of a hangover is to wait, wait for your body to clear metabolites out of your system.

"You'll do a lot of things you may end up regretting and you may end up where you don't want to end up."

Watch the full 20/20 special HERE.

What do you think of all of this? Has the teen drinking problem become so big that it can't be controlled?


  1. A few things:
    1. What is a Hangover Bus?
    2. I've heard that doing the whole taking a breathalyzer before the car will start thing wont help 100% because DUMB friends blow in it for them! 3. I don't think its becoming a problem, I think it's always been a problem but there are more ways to screw up and catch people now and lastly...

    1. A Hangover Bus supposedly cures people with hangovers by providing liquids, nurses and the proper nutrients, lol.

      And exactly! Other people would blow on it for them and they would be the dumb ones in the car with a drunk driver smh


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