COLUMBUS, Ga. – There is a disturbing new pattern among young people who are drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk.
It’s become such an issue the state’s poison control alerted schools across the state about the troubling trend.
Muscogee County School officials forwarded the warning to parents. Hand sanitizer is just one of many household items that can lead to a bigger and darker addiction.
I sat down with four recovering addicts who share a glimpse into their lives of addictions in order to light the path for others.
All four women started using drugs or alcohol as tweens or teens and have similar stories of addiction.
They also share similar thoughts on this sanitizer buzz where children are drinking it to get drunk.
Now, clean from substances their hope is to share their experiences in order to keep others from the same.
Many of the girls say that computer cleaner was a gateway drug for them and they aren’t shocked by this sanitizer buzz.
Just to give you an idea of how much alcohol a typical bottle contains. The average bottle of hand sanitizer has 65% ethyl alcohol content and hard liquor usually has about 40%.
We asked officials with the Muscogee County School District what actions they took after sending out the letter about this new craze.
Valerie Fuller, says, “Well you can’t lock up the hand sanitizer, but like I said there are hand dispensers in our bathrooms and in our cafeterias… we have hand sanitizers in our bathrooms..to make sure they were informed and aware of the potential dangers.”
She also says hand wipes are a great alternative.
Christy Hubbard with Safe Kids Columbus says it’s safe to classify the clear gel as a poison, but says balance is important and no one is saying to throw it out completely.
She does say there is an option for a “do it yourself” project (DIY).
“I encourage people to go ahead and do their own research when it comes to hand sanitizer and making their own, but I know there are non-toxic ways to do it,” says Hubbard.
Most research points back to a simpler time of just using soap and water.
Even if the schools were to remove all hand sanitizers from the classrooms these four women agree it’s the parents responsibility to be vigilant:
Nikki Muse says, “Know what they are doing…if they stay in the bathroom too long.”
Ashley Brooks, says “Show them the love that they need as children.”
If someone you know is abusing drugs… these women are here to say no one is beyond help.
Michelle Gann says, “It really is true… I was blind and now I see.”
Hubbard says vomiting, confusion and drowsiness are signs of poisoning.
She also suggests adding the Georgia Poison Control help line into your cell phone so you are prepared: 1-800-222-1222
Officials from the state’s poison control say using hand sanitizer too much can actually work against you and harm your bodies natural immune system.
Kristina’s Favorite Hand Sanitizer Recipe
Aloe vera gel (Organic)
5-10 drops of essential oils known to support the immune system
(tea tree essential oil, rosemary essential oil, cinnamon essential oil, lemon grass essential oil)
Fill up the bottle with half aloe gel and the other half distilled water and add your drops and enjoy.