After an incident where several California teens had to be hospitalized after drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk, doctors fear it could become a dangerous nationwide trend among America’s youth looking for a high.
Doctors at two San Fernando Valley hospitals report that six teens over the last couple months have come into the emergency room for alcohol poising after admitting to drinking hand sanitizer that contains 62% ethyl alcohol.
The Los Angeles times reports that the teens gained instructions from the internet to separate the alcohol from the hand sanitizer gel using salt and create a 120 proof liquid.
“All it takes is just a few swallows, and you have a drunk teenager,” stated Cyrus Rangan, who is the director of the toxicology bureau for the county public health department and a medical toxicology consultant for the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
“There is no question that it is dangerous. It is kind of scary that they go to that extent to get a shot of essentially hard liquor,” Rangan added.
One health expert advised that even though teens could still just go to the store and buy their own hand sanitizer, that parents keep foam based sanitizers in the home since they are harder to extract the alcohol from then the gel based ones. He recommends that parents also treat any alcohol-based cleaner the same way they would the medicines or liquor in their home when it comes to their children.