I use a lot of hand sanitizer and I enjoy an occasional cocktail but this is ridiculous. Six California teenagers have recently been hospitalized in separate incidents where each was diagnosed with alcohol poisoning resulting from their drinking hand sanitizer! And doctors are warning parents that this is a dangerous and fast-growing trend.
Apparently, some of the teens used salt to somehow separate the alcohol from the sanitizer by using instructions that they found online. While a shot of hard liquor like whiskey or vodka is typically 80 proof, “drinks” made from hand sanitizer’s ethyl alcohol can be as high as 120 proof. When mixed with the alcohol from mouthwash, it’s no wonder that alcohol poisoning is a danger.
Officials worry that, while there has only been a small amount of cases reported, the practice could soon become a nationwide problem because hand sanitizers are cheap and easily available and clever teenagers can easily research methods to extract the alcohol.
Doctors also suggest that parents purchase only foam hand sanitizers because, in comparison to their gel-based counterparts, it’s harder to extract alcohol from them. I think it might be wise to not purchase any at all. But that won’t stop a determined teen who can buy hand sanitizer at any discount store in town.
I think a portion of the blame lies with the “news industry” that takes a story like this and turns it into a HOW TO GUIDE for interested teens. Most teens might never have thought of this on their own but, now that they’ve seen it on the news and people are talking about it, they know that it works and how to learn more about going about doing it. I hate to see stories in the news that plant the seeds of bad ideas in the minds of impressionable viewers or readers. Why tell the world that you can make a bomb out of fertilizer?
We’ve all heard stories about teenagers sneaking into their parents’ liquor cabinets to experiment while their folks are out of town (many parents actually keep their spirits under lock and key just for this reason) but we don’t need to hear stories about how they learned to commit crimes by watching the news.
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