It seems like every month, the media generates some wacky story about the terrifying ways teenagers are getting drunk. From vodka-soaked tampons to cough syrup to gummy bears soaked in grain alcohol, we thought we’d heard it all. And even though Snopes has debunked these teenage booze myths, weirder stories just keep popping up.
Strange as it seems, some teenagers are reportedly getting drunk from consuming hand sanitizer, which contains alcohol as the main germ-killing ingredient. According to TIME, “Six teens were admitted for alcohol poisoning in two San Fernando Valley hospitals over the last few months after consuming cheap liquid hand sanitizers. The easily accessible cleansers contain 62% ethyl alcohol and can make a 120-proof liquid.” To put that in perspective, vodka is usually 70 or 80 proof, while moonshine is often bottled around 100 proof.
Allegedly, you can use salt to draw out the other ingredients in the products and leave the alcohol behind. USA Today reports that these isolated cases could be the start of a dangerous new trend, but if the past is any indicator, the actions of a few dumb kids are hardly the actions of a nation of teenagers. Drinking hand sanitizer probably tastes awful, and we can’t imagine this newest trend will catch on when a law-breaking kid could just raid a parent’s liquor cabinet instead.
Chances are, reactionary (or should we say over-reactionary) news reports are doing more to spread knowledge about how to get drunk on hand sanitizer than rebellious teens ever could.
Also spreading the word about this dangerous new trend? Jimmy Kimmel and John Cusack. When Cusack appeared on Kimmel’s late night talk show to promote his upcoming movie “The Raven,” the pair both drank hand sanitizer to mock this new trend.
“Wow, that’s terrible,” Kimmel said while making a disgusted face. “These kids are really determined to get drunk.”
Kimmel also lampooned the “trend” in a monologue, and again in a fake PSA, as seen below.