Posted by Deborah Pujoue on May 21, 2012
If you think that you have heard it all, and I thought I had, I can assure you that you haven’t. It turns out that there is a new phenomenon going on in the land of teenage highs. According to what the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles is reporting, teens are now guzzling hand sanitizer to get high.
Recently, as many as 16 teenagers in the Los Angeles area have been treated for alcohol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizers. Apparently some of the teens were distilling the product before consuming it, which is supposed to make it easier to drink. Hand sanitizer products generally contain 60 percent ethyl alcohol. Salt is used as a means of separating the alcohol. By doing this, kids are getting a shot of the concoction that is about 120 proof, which makes it at least 50 percent stronger than vodka, says Dr. Cyrus Rangan, medical toxicologist with the California Poison Control System.
“If a person has never had alcohol before, they can get drunk almost instantaneously,” Dr. Calvin Lowe told NBC Los Angeles. “It’s very, very dangerous.”
It astounds me just how creative these kids are getting in their efforts to get wasted, but this hand sanitizer thing is just creepy. If you are wondering how the kids are learning to distill the hand sanitizer, you can find videos on it on YouTube. Wow! I can’t help wondering when the eureka moment first happened that caused the first teen to give it a shot in the first place. It wasn’t too long ago that parents had to keep an eye on their mouthwash and cough medicine after kids were found to be robo-tripping off of it. NyQuil is no longer my nighttime, coughing, sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head, fever so I could sleep medicine. Why? Because Vick’s changed the formula. Hearing how kids are using the medications makes me understand why that may have been a good idea. But hand sanitizer… that is just odd.
If you want to get a better understanding about how desperate this situation is, you may want to know just how many products kids are using to get high. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the products that are most often reported as causing teen poisonings in 2010 (the most recent data available) were:
Ibuprofen (Advil) — 10,030 calls
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (Antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft) — 8,419 calls
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) — 7,995 calls
Atypical Antipsychotics (Ablify, Risperdal) — 7,319 calls
Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax) — 7,192
Alcohol — 5,061 calls