Teens Resort to Hand Sanitizer to Get Drunk - FamilyEducation

Teens Resort to Hand Sanitizer to Get Drunk

April 25,2012

With prom season upon us, teen drinking is a topic on many parent's minds. And while most parents might keep an eye on their liquor cabinet to prevent any alcohol from disappearing during any pre- or post-prom parties, there is another product teens are using to get drunk, and it's not that hard for them to get their hands on it.

Hand sanitizer.

So far, six teens have ended up in the emergency room with alcohol poisoning from drinking it.

Admittedly, when I first saw this on the news, I had visions of teens just squeezing it directly into their mouths right from the bottle. But apparently. it goes much further than that.

Some teens have been using salt to isolate the ethyl alcohol in the disinfectant, essentially turning the gel into something along the lines of a shot of liquor. Others have even gone so far as to go online to find distillation instructions.

Since most hand sanitizers can be anywhere between 62-65% ethyl alcohol, the distilled version can be as high as 120 proof.

A shot of vodka, for comparison's sake, is 80 proof.

As for the six teens who ended up in the emergency room, they all had slurred speech and complained of a burning sensation in their stomachs. Some were so drunk they had to be monitored.

For any parents who might be concerned, consider monitoring your child's use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Buy foam-based products, which are harder to distill, or consider using non-alcohol versions.

Are you concerned about teen drinking? Check out our resources on teens and alcohol, and find a way to talk to your child about the dangers of alcohol consumption.