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Hand Sanitizers: the New Way for Kids to Get Drunk

Submitted by on May 14, 2012 – 6:00 amNo Comment

Teen drinking hand sanitizer

Teens and Hand Sanitizers: Intentional Misuse and Abuse


The Issue

Recently, poison centers and emergency rooms have noticed a troubling new trend – teens drinking ethanol hand sanitizers to get drunk.

Poison Control Center

The Facts

  • Hand sanitizers contain more than 60 percent ethyl alcohol (ethanol) –more than most hard liquor.
  • Drinking ethanol-based hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning.
  • Some teens “distill” the hand sanitizer through a process they find online.


The Symptoms

Alcohol poisoning is dangerous! Symptoms include confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing, blue-tinged or pale skin, low body temperature, and unconsciousness.


The Actions

  • Talk to your teens about the dangers of drinking hand sanitizers.
  • Explain why alcohol poisoning is not a laughing matter.
  • Buy foam hand sanitizers rather than liquid or gel.
  • Buy hand sanitizers that are ethanol-free.
  • Monitor your teens and their use of sanitizers.
  • If you think someone has drunk hand sanitizer to get high,call 1-800-222-1222 to reach the experts at your local poison center. Don’t wait for symptoms to develop!

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