New Trend of Teenagers Drinking Hand Sanitizer
Los Angeles teenagers are hospitalized from a new trend: drinking inexpensive hand sanitizer to get drunk.
According to L.A. county hospital officials, six teenagers have shown up in two San Fernando Valley emergency rooms in the past few months with alcohol poisoning after attempting to get drunk off of hand sanitizer.
"We are seeing more kids in the emergency departments for this type of alcohol poisoning," said Helen Arbogast, injury prevention coordinator in the trauma program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "We went from zero to six cases. We never had it before."
Arbogast and other officials from Children's Hospital Los Angeles will hold a press conference Tuesday to discuss the dangers of this risky practice.
Hand sanitizer contains 62 percent ethyl alcohol which is 120-proof when distilled. Some teens were reportedly following online instructions on how to distill the hand sanitizer, and used salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer. The result is a potent drink similar to a shot of hard liquor. There is currently no age restrictions on purchasing hand sanitizer, which makes it extremely attractive for underage drinkers.
Officials from the Children's Hospital Los Angeles advice parents to keep hand sanitizer safely stored when not in use. They also suggest that parents buy sanitizers that don't contain ethanol and they switch to a foam sanitizer because teenagers are less likely to ingest them straight from the bottle.