Teens Turn to Hand Sanitizer to Get DrunkPosted on 4/25/2012
Six teenagers have ended up in San Fernando Valley emergency rooms recently with symptoms of alcohol poisoning. But the illicit alcohol didn't come from their parents' liquor cabinets or from illegally purchased beers. These teens got drunk -- and dangerously ill -- drinking hand sanitizer.
They're not drinking the gel straight from the dispenser. Some of the teens reportedly used salt to isolate the ethyl alcohol in the disinfectant, turning the gel into a shot of something like liquor; others go online to find distillation instructions. Since most hand sanitizers are 62 percent to 65 percent ethyl alcohol, the drink distilled from it can be as high as 120 proof. (In contrast, a standard shot of vodka is about 40 percent alcohol, or 80 proof.)
"All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager," Cyrus Rangan, director of the toxicology bureau for the county public health department and a medical toxicology consultant for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times. "There is no question that it is dangerous."
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