Hand Sanitizer Causing Teens to Get Drunk

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9
ODESSA - It seems teenagers always finding new ways to try and get drunk or high. Well the newest trend is one that is so bizarre, it's hard to believe. Some teens are resorting to drinking hand sanitizer. NewsWest 9 looked into the alarming trend.

Teenagers drinking hand sanitizer has gotten national attention. On Tuesday night on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on ABC they even tried it out.
"That's terrible these kids are really determined to get drunk," Jimmy Kimmel said on his show.
Believe it or not, teenagers are drinking this to try and get drunk.

"For the thrill, they are drinking hand sanitizer which has 62 percent ethyl alcohol," Dr. Lawrence Vosack from MCH Urgent Care, said.
"With its easy access, you see it at everyone's office, around the home, peoples cars and purses and what not. So it's an easy and readily available source for the teens to experiment in,"  Salvador Baeza, a PHARMD Specialist with the West Texas Regional Poison Center said.
To get a better idea of what we're dealing with, a bottle of Tequila has about 80 proof of alcohol, your hand sanitizer is in a more concentrated form and is 120 proof. That is why even small amounts can cause for teenagers to get drunk.
"It's the same type of ethyl alcohol so we can expect the same effects as far as inebriation, the upset stomach and the vomiting," Baeza said.
But because it is stronger than what's in your liquor cabinet, it can also cause more serious damage to your body and organs.
"Alcohol is very damaging to mucus surfaces so it could burn the mouth. It could burn the stomach, the liver process, alcohol could lead to liver damage in extreme cases. It could damage the eye sight," Vosack said.
"Lets say you have a 13-year-old weighing 100 pounds, one ounce and half would also put that 13-year-old over the legal limit to drive as well," Baeza said.
In West Texas, there haven't been any cases. But across Texas, this isn't unheard of and teens are risking their lives to try this out.
So far in 2012, the Poison Control Center in Texas has seen 18 cases. So what can you do to prevent your child from taking a sip?
"Speak with your children, explain the dangers to the kids or what they are seeing on the news so they don't copycat. Keep a close eye on their behavior," Vosack said.
For more information, you can contact the West Texas Regional Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.