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“Butt Chugging”: A Dangerous Way to Get Drunk

Question: I got a call from my nephew that he was arrested for DUI in Gwinnett County. He didn't want his parents to know that he got arrested. He was driving back from Athens after partying with some friends and he got stopped. It's a pretty embarrassing story that is probably repeated daily by many college students and others.

He told me that he was “butt chugging” with some friends at a University of Georgia fraternity. He attends Georgia Tech. I've never heard the term butt chugging.

He said that they technically didn't actually “drink” anything through their mouths. But what they did was to ingest the alcohol through their anus. I've never heard of this before and never even thought about doing anything so dumb, but these kids had a whole party built around this butt-chugging and beer pong.

He said he didn't think he'd get too drunk from butt chugging. Apparently they used all types of booze, including gin, tequila, vodka and some grain alcohol. He said some of his friends passed out but he felt he could drive home and be safe. He told me he butt chugged a few cups of coffee before driving home and he thought that would keep him sober.

He wants to know if he has any defense to his DUI because technically he wasn't actually drinking, at least not through his mouth.

H.N. in Duluth, GA

Answer: Sadly, butt chugging is becoming increasingly popular. As you describe, it involves ingesting alcohol using an enema. It is actually quite dangerous because the alcohol passes into the blood stream far more quickly than if it is consumed orally. There have been reports of serious alcohol poisoning resulting from butt chugging at many Georgia colleges and universities.

Basically, from a physiological perspective, the lower gastrointestinal tract lacks the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme present in the stomach and liver that breaks down ethanol to make it less toxic for the body.

As for the possibility of using it as a defense for a DUI charge (under O.C.G.A. section 40-6-391), it simply won't work. To be convicted of DUI, the prosecution must prove that the driver was less safe due to the ingestion of alcohol or drugs. The law does not provide how the alcohol or drugs are consumed. The prosecutors just need to prove that your body had alcohol or drugs in it. Besides drinking, there are a number of ways to get alcohol or drugs into the bloodstream. There is certainly no legal requirement that alcohol be consumed through the mouth for a DUI charge.

Indeed, as unconventional ways of consuming alcohol are spread via social media, I'm quite sure we will get many questions like this one.

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