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Teens Drinking Hand Sanitizer to Get Drunk

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Between the choking game and pill parties, teenagers have picked up yet another dangerous bad habit: drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk. Hand sanitizers contain 62% ethyl alcohol and six teenagers have reportedly ended up in L.A. emergency rooms in the past few months from alcohol poisoning related to the consumption of hand sanitizer.

Teenagers aren’t necessarily drinking the sanitizer straight out of the bottle. Instead, they may use salt to try to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer, creating a shot similar to hard liquor. However, distilled hand sanitizer is three times as alcoholic as vodka and clearly more dangerous. According to reports, the teenagers who came to the emergency room had slurred speech and a burning sensation in the stomach. Some were so drunk that they needed to be monitored in the emergency room.

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that teenagers are trying another cheap method of getting drunk or high. Just a few weeks ago, the news reported on the “cinnamon challenge” where teens attempt to snort cinnamon. Health experts say that these products are not only cheap, but easily accessible, which makes them a lot more enticing than other drugs. Doctors told the L.A. Times that parents should purchase foam hand sanitizer since it is harder to ingest or distill and to monitor hand sanitizer bottles like they were any other liquor or medicine bottles.