Teens risk death by using hand sanitizer to get drunk

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 6:05 AM

A dangerous trend is making its way around the country.

Teenagers are actually drinking liquid hand sanitizer to get drunk, and several of them wound up in the hospital because of it.

Some abusers do not attempt to hide the practice. Videos all over the internet show teens drinking hand sanitizer.

Teens distill and separate the sanitizer using salt, and the consequences can be deadly. Not only can the alcohol in the sanitizer cause danger, but the other ingredients can as well.

“Sometimes you may have different scents out there, or chemicals that are in hand sanitizer especially if it’s aloe based, that could cause an intoxication on their own,” Epidemiologist Mark Springer said.

Six teens recently ended up in a California emergency room for alcohol poisoning. School and health officials said there have been no local cases so far.

To get an idea of how dangerous this behavior can be, parents only have to look at the back of the sanitizer bottles. Most liquid sanitizers contain 62 percent ethyl alcohol, which can produce a shot of 120 proof liquor.

“They are too cheap to buy alcohol probably,” Gonzaga student Lucas Orlita said.

“It’s cheaper, and it’s more effective, especially in this economy,” Gonzaga student Alexa Endris said. “People want to get drunk, and they can’t afford good tequila or vodka, so they drink hand sanitizer.”

Several of those teens in Los Angeles were so drunk at the emergency room that they had to be monitored by doctors.

Although this trend does not seem to be happening yet in Spokane, some officials said it’s only a matter of time.

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