Teens are now drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk. Something that is supposed to kill bacteria, has sent six teenagers to Los Angeles emergency rooms in the past few months after drinking the hand sanitizer.
The same ingredient that kill germs and found in most hand sanitizers is the same ingredient found in alcohol, ethanol. Hand sanitizer contains 62 percent ethyl alcohol and can make a 120-proof liquid. The teens will use salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer, “It’s essentially a shot of 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.
Dr. Billy Mallon, who works at the Los Angeles County USC Medical Center said, “It doesn’t sound appealing, but you have to remember that kids don’t have access to alcohol so they’re very creative. They’re looking at recipes online for how to remove the alcohol, and so they’re probably getting pretty close to what is called grain alcohol strengths of alcohol.” Some doctors are saying the kids might be taking shots of up to 100% alcohol.
Teens reportedly are experiencing blurred vision and slurred speech, just as they would if they drank real alcohol. However, with hand sanitizer it can cause worse damage, such as a burning stomach, diarrhea and even irreversible organ damage.
Taige Taylor said, “I don’t know why you would do it. It makes no sense to me.”
Jay Stratton said, “The cheapest thing and there’s no age requirement or I.D required so it’s cheap for them to buy and get buzzed.”
Tristinn Martinez said, “I think it’s pretty nasty. Kids will have to be pretty desperate for a high.”
As with most trends among teens, they use YouTube to post videos of them eating or drinking the hand sanitizer.
In the past, teenagers have been known to drink mouthwash, cough syrup and vanilla extract to get drunk.
Doctors say if you keep hand sanitizer in your home, and you notice it disappearing at an alarming rate, you may want to have a talk with your child. If you’re still concerned they say switch to a foam sanitizer because it’s more difficult to ingest, reported ABC4.
There are other hand sanitizer alternatives you can switch to that are alcohol-free. Instead of alcohol these hand sanitizers use benzalkonium chloride and is said to be 99.99% effective to killing germs. They are: SafeHands, GentleCare and Prefense.