Teens Getting Wasted Off of Liquid Hand Sanitizer

by AdamS on October 11, 2012

It can be very difficult to keep teenagers from getting their hands on, and abusing alcohol. Some teens will do whatever it takes to get wasted, and that has become very evident recently when more and more cases of teens drinking liquid hand sanitizer have emerged. Liquid hand sanitizer is inexpensive and easy for teens to get their hands on whether they are buying it in the store or simply finding it laying around their parents homes. Drinking hand sanitizer is extremely dangerous and is causing the teens to need to go through alcohol treatment at inpatient rehab facilities.

Where Did This Trend Begin?

This dangerous trend can be traced back to New Zealand, where prisoners first started drinking hand sanitizer mixed with fruit drinks to get wasted. The popularity of this practice has spread from New Zealand all the way to America, where it is now common in the states of California, Missouri, and Alaska. Within the last few months, more than half a dozen teens in Los Angeles have been rushed to local emergency rooms, to be treated for alcohol poisoning. Videos can be found on the internet that describe the process of distilling the liquid hand sanitizer to separate the ethanol portion of the product from the other ingredients by using salt. This means that the teens are able to extract pure ethanol from the hand sanitizer and drink that which is a 120 proof alcohol that can cause extreme sickness from being ingested.

Terrible Side Effects From Drinking Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer has never been intended for human consumption and is supposed to be used only as its directed. Because it is deliberately made to kill bacteria and clean hands, it is extremely dangerous if it is ingested. The side effects of drinking hand sanitizer are diarrhea, stomach irritation, vomiting. It can also cause memory loss and permanent damage to a person’s internal organs. The damage caused by drinking hand sanitizer is sometimes irreversible according to medical professionals who have dealt with cases of alcohol poisoning from the substance. In a few cases hand sanitizer consumption has been linked to death, including one in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where police officers found a dead body next to empty bottles of hand sanitizer and mouthwash.

This is a very dangerous habit that many teens have started turning to in order to get drunk when they are unable to get booze through other means. There are few ways for police and parents to fight this trend, but police have been advising store owners to not sell hand sanitizer to teenagers and warn parents of the dangers of leaving the substance around the house if they suspect their teens may be underage drinking. For now this problem doesn’t appear that it will be going away anytime soon and more teens will likely end up needing alcohol treatment at inpatient rehab centers before some better safeguards are put in place to deter teens from abusing the substance.

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