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Hand sanitizer: a troubling “drug” trend

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

In the past few months, six teenagers have shown up in emergency rooms in San Fernando Valley because of alcohol poisoning, the LA Times reports. The “drug” in question? Hand sanitizer, which is 62% ethyl alcohol and makes a 120-proof liquid. More and more teens are drinking the household product in order to become intoxicated–other effects include slurred speech and a burning stomach. Some teens even use salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer; the result is a strong alcohol similar to a shot of hard liquor. This disturbing trend worries parents and public officials alike. 

“All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager,” said Cyrus Rangan, director of the toxicology bureau for the county public health department and a medical toxicology consultant for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “There is no question that it is dangerous.”

Of course, hand sanitizer is merely the latest over-the-counter product to which teenagers are turning for an easy “legal” high. In the past, they’ve done the same with mouthwash, cough syrup and even vanilla extract.

Source: The LA Times

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