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Alcohol vaporizers newest trend in fast highs


PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A new trend in getting drunk has the attention of law enforcement agencies, as it makes its way to North Carolina. Experts say people are using alcohol vaporizers to get drunker faster.

A couple of years ago there was a similar device used in the same way that was quickly outlawed.

Law enforcement officers say a woman in Chicago started selling alcohol vaporizers in 2009 at the bar she owns. The trend grew from the popularity of other inhaling devices like hookahs. The Vaportini is continuing to spread quickly.

Pender County Sheriff's Sgt. King, who did not want to use his first name or show his face because of his undercover work, says it is more dangerous than drinking alcohol.

"How it operates is when you inhale the fumes it goes into your lungs, into the lung tissue and goes directly into the blood stream. Just the same way if you were drinking alcohol. It just gets there quicker," King said.

State Trooper Bryan Phillips says the body cannot detect when you have had too much. The same intoxicating effects are felt.

Some think they can get away using the Vaportini because you cannot smell the alcohol. Experts say it is easy for someone to overdose from the Vaportini.

"It's more dangerous, because it goes immediately into the blood stream through your lungs, so you have the immediate intoxicating effects aside from if you were sitting down drinking a cocktail," Sgt. King said.

King says users are buying them online, because they are not sold in local stores.

Trpr. Philips says inhaled alcohol can be detected, and anyone under the influence will still be charged as usual.

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