Hand Sanitizer: The Latest Trend in Teen Drinking

Apparently, only a few swallows is enough to get a person drunk


There seems to be no limit to the ridiculous things people will do to get drunk. Guzzling spiked whipped cream, double-fisting 40s of beer duct-taped to your hands, taking a vodka shot in your eyeball (yikes) — you name it, someone out there has probably done it. 

But drinking hand sanitizer? Really? Who would think of doing such a thing just to get a buzz?

Teenagers, apparently.

According to recent reports, within the last month, as many as six California teens were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning stemming from consuming hand sanitizer. Per a story in the Los Angeles Times, some of the teens used salt to extract the alcohol in the product to create something of a makeshift shot. Experts say that because most liquid hand sanitizers range between 62 and 65 percent ethyl alcohol, the substance clocks in at about 120-proof (consider that a standard bottle of tequila or vodka is usually about 80-proof, not an insignificant number in itself). 

As Dr. Cyrus Rangan, a medical toxicology consultant for the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, told the newspaper, "All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager."

Perhaps more worrisome is that the decidedly dangerous trend is not actually all that new and has slowly been spreading across the country. According to a report from ABC, some 2,600 cases have been reported since 2010, and similar incidences have popped up in the South, Midwest, and on the East Coast.


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