With near-universal access to the Internet, young people are able to find out about new ways to get high from people all over the world. As a result, dangerous trends can spread quickly.
One example: Smoking alcohol. A YouTube search turns up nearly 275,000 videos that explain how to vaporize alcohol by pressurizing it in a bottle with a bike pump or putting it over dry ice or a flame to separate the fumes from the liquid. By inhaling alcohol instead of drinking it, the substance bypasses the liver and goes directly to the brain, Pasierb said, adding that the practice is a quick-and-easy way to get a dangerous case of alcohol poisoning because inhaling alcohol doesn't give the body the option of throwing up as a defense mechanism.
"It's a great example of something that has been around at a very low level for 10 years," he said, pointing out that the most popular instructional alcohol-smoking video on YouTube has nearly 3 million hits. "But now in the last year, its popularity has been driven hugely by the Internet."