It's a new trend and it's going to shock a lot of parents: Teenagers drinking hand sanitizer and ending up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. Robert Kovacik reports from Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on April 23, 2012.
Some teens are drinking hand sanitizer and ending up with alcohol poisoning, according to public health officials.
So far, six teenagers have been treated at a hospital in the San Fernando Valley after drinking the mixture, which is essentially 120-proof booze. Some of the teenagers used salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer, making a potent drink that is similar to a shot of hard liquor.
Officials planned to conduct a news conference at the hospital Tuesday to discuss the problem.
“A person who has never had alcohol before can get drunk instantaneously. It is very, very dangerous,” said Dr. Calvin Lowe, of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
Although there have been only a handful of cases, public health officials said the practice could easily become a larger problem. Bottles of hand sanitizer are inexpensive and accessible, and teenagers can find distillation instructions on the Internet.