Hand sanitizer is becoming known as the new vodka for teenagers. Reports from poison control centers across the United States are increasing because teenagers are using the ethanol-based product to get high. Hand sanitizer abuse is becoming a major problem with teenagers.
According to Dr. Robert J. Geller, a medical toxicologist and pediatrician at Emory University in Atlanta, these sanitizers “are actually products that are 60 percent ethanol which means they are 120 proof, and if you drink 2 ounces of it, it’s like drinking 3 ounces of 80-proof tequila.”
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 622 calls last year from teenagers reporting exposure to ethanol-based hand sanitizer. So far in 2012, they have already received 203 calls. There can be serious consequences, from sedation to vomiting to decreased respiration. According to Geller, “it really depends on how much they take and how often they are doing this.”