Students are buying vanilla extract and using it to get drunk.
That’s according to a midtown Atlanta high school, which sent a letter to parents this week, warning them to be on the lookout for Trader Joe’s Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
According to school officials, students have been going to the Trader Joe’s across the street to buy the $9 bottle of extract. Then they’ll pour it into coffee from a nearby Starbucks. One student was sent to the hospital after drinking the coffee.
By FDA standards, pure vanilla extract contains a minimum of 35 percent alcohol, the same proof as Captain Morgan rum. You can’t buy it in liquor stores, but it’s sold in grocery stores and for many, it is a household staple.
“This is not an indictment of Trader Joe’s at all, but parents please be aware that this product contains 35% alcohol and we have discovered that some students have consumed this intoxicant. Another thing to keep an eye out for,” an excerpt from the letter reads.
As the newspaper reports, naive teens getting drunk off of vanilla extract is nothing new.
“Drinking Vanilla extract as alcohol is nothing new. Back in my high school days kids made “super vanilla” ice cream,” one reader wrote in response to the letter, which was shared on the AJC Get Schooled Facebook page.
“At least the Trader Joe’s staff is aware of it. I bought a bottle of the alcohol-free extract last week at this store and the cashier told me they were watching sales of vanilla carefully because of this issue. Also, what a truly expensive way to get a little bit of alcohol….” wrote another.