Hand Sanitizer: Kids Drinking Hand Sanitizer to Get Drunk

(Credit: nytimes.com)

Teenagers will do almost anything to get inebriated, even drink hand sanitizer.

Over the past several months, six Los Angeles teens were taken to emergency rooms for treatment of alcohol poisoning after ingesting the cheap, easily accessible product, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Hand sanitizer is made up of 62 percent ethyl alcohol and can make a 120-proof liquid. Some of the teenagers reportedly added salt to the hand sanitizer, which separates the sanitizer from the alcohol and creates a shot similar to hard liquor.

“All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager,” Cyrus Rangan, director of the toxicology bureau for the county public health department and a medical toxicology consultant for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told the newspaper.

He believes it could be the start next dangerous trend. But, statistics are hard to come by since not everyone who drinks hand sanitizer to get drunk winds up hospitalized.

It is not without precedent. In the past, teens have been known to drink mouthwash, cough syrup or just about any other over-the-counter product containing alcohol or sedatives in order to get drunk or high.

“Over the years, they have ingested all sorts of things,” said Helen Arbogast, injury prevention coordinator in the trauma program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told The Times. “Cough syrup had reached a very sexy point where young people were using it…. We want to be sure this doesn’t take on the same trend.”

She suggested that parents who are concerned their kids might try to get drunk on liquid hand sanitizer should instead buy foam sanitizer for home use since it’s harder for teens to abuse. Parents should monitor house hold sanitizer the way they would liquor or medicine and look for signs that their children may be under the influence.