Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
Anything for a Buzz
Hand Sanitizer
Hand Sanitizer
If it contains alcohol, somebody will drink it, even if it's a germ-killing hand cleanser. When hand sanitizer became a staple in schools and public buildings to ward off the flu and other infectious illnesses, no one suspected that this health-promoting substance would be an easy way for kids to catch a buzz. However, according to a 2009 report from KSSV, an ABC affiliate in Central Texas, and several others, teens have been drinking hand sanitizer. It's no surprise, as Germ-X and other similar brands contain about 65% ethyl alcohol. However, most Youtube videos portraying the ingestion of sanitizer do not show kids getting drunk; more frequently teens film themselves taking a drop of the stuff and gagging at its strong and decidedly unpalatable taste.

On April 24, 2012, the LA Times reported that six teenagers have been hospitalized in recent months, sick with alcohol poisoning from ingesting hand sanitizer. Using distillation instructions found online, the teens separate the alcohol from the rest of the ingredients, and end up with a shot of 120-proof liquor. With easy availability and potency much stronger than that of vodka, it's easy to imagine how abusing the well-intentioned product could land a teen in the ER.
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