Tuesday, September 7, 2010

DUI by Vanilla Extract

Some people seem to believe that as long as the alcohol doesn't come from the standard beer, wine or liquor, that it somehow doesn't count. They try to blame the cough syrup or NyQuil for the breath test. Now the problem with that logic is that the alcohol in Nyquil is the same, chemically speaking, as the alcohol in a drink. It's all ethanol. It's all the same stuff. Whether you sat down and had a six pack or chugged a bottle of NyQuil, the impairment is the same and is addressed by the same law. (Things get twitchy with rubbing alcohol since that is not the same alcohol that is addressed by most DUI laws.)

This is the first time I've ever seen DUI by vanilla extract though. The woman in question was found slumped over the wheel with partially empty vanilla extract bottles that she had been mixing with coke. That sounds vastly more appealing than drinking rubbing alcohol, but when you consider that a cookie recipe require one teaspoon of vanilla and she was drinking it by the ounce...maybe not so appealing anymore. The woman in question didn't take a test so the rest is all speculation, but an interesting academic exercise none-the-less.

The vanilla extract in the car was 35% alcohol by volume and the woman purchased two eight ounce bottles. Both were partially empty according to the officer, but we don't now how much was missing. So how high could you get off of vanilla? Let's assume the woman in question was 150 pounds. For each ounce of vanilla she would gain a 0.020 blood alcohol concentration. Without elimination she could reach 0.160 on each bottle of vanilla extract. Of course the longer she drank, the lower the result would be because she would be eliminating alcohol at the same time.

Either way, could you get yourself intoxicated off of vanilla extract? YES. Would you want to? That is a very different question.

1 comment:

  1. Coke mixed with vanilla extract? Sounds like a tasty combo. What crosses my mind is that it's a very easy way for those who are underage to purchase these items without being carded and create alcoholic beverages of their own.