Hand sanitizer consumption is a new trend for teens who are looking to get a cheap buzz. A growing number of teens have been treated at Emergency Rooms across the nation after consuming the alcohol-based instant cleanser.
In California, six teenagers have visited the ER in San Fernando valley in the past few months with alcohol poisoning from drinking the sanitizer.
For many, hand sanitizer is kept in purses and cars, saved for use in a pinch when soap and water are not available. It is especially handy for germaphobes, who often use the cleaner on their hands and clothes.
Cyrus Rangan, director of the toxicology bureau for the county public health department, states that:
“All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager. There is no question that it is dangerous.”
So far it has not been a huge problem, but if teenagers find out how to distill the alcohol-based substance, it is possible it could become as bad as cough syrup or “bath salts.”
Rangan goes on to say that, “It is kind of scary that they go to that extent to get a shot of essentially hard liquor.” But at the same time, hand sanitizer is cheap, and incredibly easy to find.
The liquid hand sanitizer is 62% alcohol, which makes the distilled liquid 120-proof, enough to beat out many “top shelf” liquors. Just a few shots are enough to slur speech, and cause someone to be ill enough to require ER observation.
Helen Arbogast, injur prevention coordinator in the trauma program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, states that:
“Over the years, they have ingested all sorts of things. 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.”
Do you think that hand sanitizer consumption among teens will become as bad cough syrup, “bath salts” or even Oxycontin?
Check out the video below, where a teen is dared to drink hand sanitizer: