KNOXVILLE, TENN.: Before an unruly Tennessee party ended with a student hospitalized for a dangerously high blood alcohol level, most people had probably never heard of alcohol enemas.
Thanks to the drunken exploits of a fraternity at the University of Tennessee, the bizarre way of getting drunk is giving parents, administrators and health-care workers a new fear.
When Alexander “Xander” Broughton, 20, was delivered to the hospital after midnight on Sept. 22, his blood alcohol level was measured at 0.448 percent — nearly six times the intoxication that defines drunken driving in the state. Injuries to his rectum led hospital officials to fear he had been sodomized.
Police documents show that when an officer interviewed a fellow fraternity member about what happened, the student said the injuries had been caused by an alcohol enema.
“It is believed that members of the fraternity were utilizing rubber tubing inserted into their rectums as a conduit for alcohol,” according to a police report.
While Broughton told police he remembered participating in a drinking game with fellow members of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter, he denied having an alcohol enema. Police concluded otherwise from evidence they found at the frat house, including boxes of Franzia Sunset Blush wine.
Broughton did not respond to a cell-phone message seeking comment on Friday.
The university responded with swift investigation and a decision Friday to shutter the fraternity until at least 2015. The national Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity organization also accepted the withdrawal of the campus charter.
Alcohol enemas have been the punch lines of YouTube videos, a stunt in a Jackass movie and a song by the punk band NOFX called Party Enema. But Corey Slovis, chairman of department of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said actually going through with the deed can have severe consequences.
“It’s something that offers no advantages, while at the same time risking someone’s life,” he said.
The procedure bypasses the stomach, accelerating the absorption rate, Slovis said. Pouring the alcohol through a funnel can increase the amount of alcohol consumed because it’s hard to gauge how much is going in.
“When you’re dumping it into your rectum, often via a funnel, one or two ounces seems like such a minuscule amount,” he said. Ingesting more can create unconsciousness quite quickly, he explained.
The effects have been fatal in at least one case. An autopsy performed after the death of a Texas man, 58, in 2004 showed he had been given an enema with enough sherry to have a blood alcohol level of 0.47 percent. Negligent homicide charges were later dropped against his wife, who said she gave him the enema.