Teens using hand sanitizer to get drunk

Hand sanitizer has been drawing up a lot of attention.  Teens are drinking the commonly used household item as a way to get drunk.

According to the California Poison Control System, in Los Angeles County since March, there have been 16 cases of teenagers requiring medical attention.

Popular sites like YouTube.com show teens demonstrating for others how to filter the hand sanitizer, turning it into up to 120 proof alcohol.  Some are shown drinking the substance straight from the pump.

“Kids are not necessary going to understand and they are going to drink a lot of it.  It can lead to alcohol poisoning and alcohol poisoning kills,” says Diane Sonneville, clinical director at C.A.D.S. (Center of Alcohol and Drugs Services).

According to Sonneville, the fad is not new.  In 2007, prisoners started drinking the cleanser and it quickly moved into hospitals.

She says fads typically revolve around things that are easily accessible and hand sanitizer is not the only thing that teens and adults have used to get a high.

“Kids have done that with hairspray, vanilla extract, mouthwash and other kinds of alcohol containing over the counter products.”

Parents are urged to buy foam sanitizer and wipes instead of the liquid variety or just use soap and water in the house.  Also if your child seems intoxicated, take them to the hospital or physician immediately.

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