Teenagers Drinking Hand Sanitizer
A frightening new drug panic is hitting the nation, and hitting it hard. Teenagers all over the country are discovering that alcohol based hand sanitizer can be used to achieve a high, and can even be mixed with other substances like mouth washes to increase the alcohol content. Even more distressing is the appearance of instructions online for cutting the hand sanitizer with salt to increase the potency to even higher and more dangerous levels.
For more information and a video see our drinking hand sanitizer page.
Why are teenagers drinking hand sanitizer?
Many teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol throughout the course of their junior and high school years, and sometimes experimentation leads to addiction. In the past obtaining illegal drugs or alcohol was more difficult for teens, but as the rise in addiction and the market to meet it is has increased, so too has the availability of these substances. The frightening thing about hand sanitizer is it's almost universal availability, from homes to stores and even the very centers and hospitals where addicts seek treatment for their disease.
Why is drinking hand sanitizer so dangerous?
The first and most obvious factor is the availability, hand sanitizer is everywhere. It's hard to go through a day without seeing a bottle of it somewhere. Teenagers often face a shortage of money or access to alcohol and other drugs, but in this case it's something that's available almost anywhere.
The health risks are high with abuse of hand sanitizer, and emergency rooms across the nation are reporting a large increase in the amount of cases seen, and the numbers just continue to rise. Physicians warn that side effects like organ damage, diarrhea and mental impairment or blindness can result from a strong enough dose, and that in many cases this damage is irreparable. In addition, a startling number of crimes are being reported involving assailants who are high on hand sanitizer. At least two homicides have been attributed to it's use.
What can i do about abuse by teens drinking hand sanitizer?
As with any dangerous substance, control and monitoring are the key! If possible, switch to a non-alcohol based hand sanitizer or other antibacterial cleansing agent, and any remaining supplies of the dangerous alcohol based hand sanitizer can then be disposed of properly.
Talk to your teens, or anyone else you fear might be using hand sanitizer as a drug and explain to them the risks involved. As this problem becomes more widely known it will unfortunately also mean that more and more teens and addicts will become aware of the potential for a high. The low price and easy availability make this a highly dangerous substance that needs to be monitored by homes, employers, schools and other agencies to help halt the spread.