This dangerous new trend has teens distilling the alcohol from hand sanitizer and getting drunk.
Any parent knows how resourceful teens can be when they want something. Unfortunately, that also applies to finding the next high. There’s no doubt how the new troubling trend of teens drinking hand sanitizer came about. This seemingly harmless substance, often used by busy moms to try to keep their kids relatively germ-free, is now being ingested by teens. It sounds crazy, but liquid hand sanitizer is 62 percent ethyl alcohol, which makes it a 120-proof liquid.
If you haven’t heard about this in your region yet, it’s coming. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that six teenagers have shown up in two San Fernando Valley emergency rooms in the last few months with alcohol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizer. Some of the teenagers even took it a step further, using salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer, making a potent drink that is similar to a shot of hard liquor.
Needless to say, it has public health officials very worried, because they see the number of concentrated cases as a sign of a growing trend. It also has all the hallmarks of big trouble: it’s cheap, it’s easily accessible and it produces a quick high.
In the past, teens have misused mouthwash, cough syrup and vanilla extract all for the same reason, and chances are they’ll continue to find new substances to try. In the meantime, health officials recommend that parents who buy hand sanitizer opt for the foam version because it is harder to extract the alcohol and teenagers may be less likely to drink it. Parents also shouldn't leave hand sanitizer around the house and should monitor it like any other liquor or medicine.
Substance Abuse Help at The Canyon
If you or someone you love needs help with drug or alcohol abuse, call The Canyon at the toll-free number on our homepage. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.