Even though some street names for alcohol are commonly used by adults, underage individuals, including teens and college students, may be using street names for alcohol to cover up their alcohol use. Since alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug amongst teens in the United States, staying educated on the latest slang for alcohol and drinking activities may help you become aware if your underage loved one is drinking. Even if they are not yet addicted to alcohol, early detection of underage alcohol use may prevent future alcohol addiction, abuse, serious accidents, and possible fatalities.

Risks of Underage Drinking

According to the 2015 Risk Behavior Survey, in the last 30 days:

  • 33% of high school students drank alcohol
  • 18% binge drank (consumed 4-5 drinks within a 2 hour period)
  • 20% rode in a car with a driver who had been drinking
  • 8% drove after drinking

Among college students, the numbers become ever higher. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in the past 30 days:

  • 60% of college students ages 18–22 drank alcohol
  • 2 out of 3 binge drank

Even if they are not addicted to alcohol, teen and college drinking can have severe consequences. For instance:

Binge drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage drinkers each year.

In 2010, there were an estimated 189,000 visits by underage youths to the emergency room for alcohol-related injuries

Other consequences of teen and college drinking may include:

  • Problems in school, including poor grades or more absences
  • Legal repercussions, such as receiving a MIP (Minor in Possession) charge, a DUI, or arrested for engaging in another illegal activity while drunk.
  • Social problems, such as loss of friends or fighting
  • Higher risk for sexual assault
  • Engaging in unplanned or unprotected sexual activity
  • Changes in brain development
  • Increased suicide risk
  • Death from alcohol poisoning

Street Names for Alcohol

Since teen and college drinking may be linked to serious consequences, it’s important to be aware if your underage loved one is using alcohol. To avoid getting in trouble at home, school, or with the law, underage and college-age drinkers may be using street names for alcohol and/or drinking activities to disguise their drinking. Adults who learn and are able to recognize common slang for alcohol, drinking, drinking games, and being drunk may be able to help prevent alcohol addiction, abuse, serious accidents, and possible fatalities.

Some common street names and nicknames for alcohol include:

  • Booze
  • Juice
  • Giggle juice
  • Joy juice
  • Sauce
  • Hard stuff: Alcohol with a high proof
  • Moonshine: Homemade alcohol
  • Hooch: Another term for moonshine
  • Firewater
  • Vino: Wine
  • Brew: Beer
  • Cold one: Beer
  • Draft: Beer
  • Suds: Beer
  • Liquid bread: Beer
  • Oats soda: Beer
  • Nectar of the Gods
  • Kool Aid
  • Liquid courage: Name given to alcohol for its ability to loosen inhibitions

In addition to street names for alcohol itself, there are other slang terms related to drinking/drinking games/being drunk that you should be aware of. These may include:

  • Pre-game: Drinking alcohol before a party or event.
  • Chugging: Consuming alcohol at a rapid rate (commonly occurs during drinking games).
  • Beer Bong: A device made out of a tube or hose and a funnel; designed to consume large quantities very quickly.
  • Black out: When a person who has been drinking has a memory loss (commonly occurs with binge drinking).
  • Crunked: Drinking alcohol and using marijuana at the same time.
  • Everclear: A dangerously potent drink with a 90% alcohol proof level.
  • Watermelon: Injecting Everclear into a watermelon, which is cut up and consumed.
  • Trash Can Punch: Typically mixing fruit, Everclear, vodka, and other alcohol in a trash can.
  • Jello Shots: Making Jello with alcohol and serving it in shot glasses, small cups, ice cube trays, or in small squares.
  • Jag: An extended period of heavy drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Proof: A term referring to the amount of alcohol found in various liquor products. The “proof” number is double the percentage of alcohol.
  • Trashed, Smashed, Sloshed, or Tanked: Drunk.

Talking to Teens and College Students About Alcohol

Adolescents who start drinking alcohol before age 15 are more likely to abuse or develop alcohol dependence later in life. Since early adolescence is when some teens start feeling pressure to drink or begin to experiment with alcohol, it’s important for parents to have frank discussions about alcohol with their kids early on. You don’t need to get everything covered at once; in fact, it may be most effective to have these types of conversations through your child’s teenage years and while they are in college.

The National Institute on Abuse and Alcoholism offers these suggestions while talking to your teen or college student about alcohol:

  1. Make it a conversation, not a lecture.

Your teen or college student probably has an opinion on the subject of alcohol. Ask them what they know and how they feel about it. Listen to your teen or college student without interrupting them and let them know you care—they’re more likely to be open and honest if they don’t feel cornered or patronized.

  1. Discuss the potential risks of underage alcohol use.

Since there are many risks associated with teenage drinking, sharing these realities with your child may be helpful in deterring them from using alcohol while underage. For instance, teens who drink are more likely to have unprotected sex and are more vulnerable to sexual assault. Car accidents involving alcohol are one of the leading causes of teen deaths. Let your teen know that even if they think they would never engage in dangerous activities while drinking, alcohol impairs judgement, and they make not make the same decisions while under the influence of alcohol.

  1. Talk with your child about peer pressure.

Brainstorm ways that your child can say “no” to alcohol and discuss specific ways that you will support them in these decisions. For instance, if your child is at a home where underage individuals are drinking, will you offer to pick them up without punishment?

  1. Set a good example.

The way parents discuss and behave around alcohol may impact their teen’s choice to drink, so to discourage your teen from drinking, keep your own alcohol habits in check. If you do drink, consume alcohol moderately. Don’t drink and drive or communicate that alcohol is a good way to handle stress. If you’re hosting a party, serve non-alcoholic drinks as well so that your teen can see that, even for adults, there is always an option not to drink.

Does Your Teen or College Student Need Alcohol Treatment?

What does alcohol abuse or addiction look like in teens or college student? If you’re concerned that your child is developing a drinking problem, pay attention to some of these warning signals:

  1. Changes in mood: anger, defensiveness, irritability
  2. Scholastic decline: Poor grades, low attendance, getting in trouble more often
  3. Changes in friend groups: Suddenly switching friend groups, not bringing new friends home
  4. Discovering alcohol use: Finding alcohol in your child’s room, noticing alcohol from your own home is missing, smelling alcohol on your child’s breath
  5. Physical or mental changes: Lapses in memory or blackouts, trouble concentrating, lack of coordination, slurred speech patterns

Other signs of alcohol addiction can be found here.

Find Help for Your Child

If you notice signs of alcohol abuse or addiction in your teen or college student, it may be time to enlist professional help. The realization that your child may be abusing or addicted to alcohol can be jarring—but the longer it goes untreated, the more challenging recovery can be.

Many parents in this situation may feel a sense of shame or like they failed as a parent. Keep in mind, however, that addiction is a chronic brain disease, not a result of bad parenting. Accepting that your child is sick and taking the next steps toward treatment will give your child the best chances of recovering.If you’re concerned that your child may be addicted to or abusing alcohol, we recommend speaking to an addiction treatment professional. Recovery advisors at Nexus are here to answer your questions and discuss the best treatment options for your child and your family. Take the first step in your child’s recovery — contact us today to speak to a trusted recovery advisor.

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