From the L.A. Daily News
Teens distilling, drinking alcohol from hand sanitizers
by Susan Abram
Local teenagers are gulping down hand sanitizer to get drunk - and many are landing in emergency departments instead, health experts warned on Tuesday.
Though it is a national trend for the last few years, Los Angeles teenagers have only caught on more recently. There were 16 countywide cases reported to California's Poison Control since March 1 and 60 statewide since 2010, health officials said.
"This is a rapidly emerging trend," said Dr. Cyrus Rangan, a pediatric medical toxicologist with Children's Hospital, who also is director of the county Department of Public Health's Toxic Epidemiology Program.
One small bottle of hand sanitizer contains 60 percent alcohol, or at least 120 proof, Rangan said.
"That's like drinking several shots of hard liquor," Rangan said.
While none of the local cases so far has been fatal, Rangan said the effects of drinking the product are similar to abusing liquor. Too much can prove dangerous, causing coma.
So far, there are no regulations that prohibit those under a certain age from buying sanitizer, such as with other products, but it could happen, Rangan said.
"I would not be surprised if something like that happened down the road," he said.
Teenagers have learned to separate the alcohol from the rest of the product's ingredients by using bath salts. They get the information online, said Helen Arbogast, an injury prevention coordinator for Children's Hospital, where Tuesday's press conference was held.
While teenagers drink sanitizer to get drunk, younger children will ingest it because the product's colors may look like juice or something sweet, she said.
"Just a spoonful can cause a problem," she said. "It's a concern for us. We're going to be going to the high schools to talk about it."
She and others urged parents to be aware of the product, and if possible, to use foam hand sanitizers instead of the gels, to deter teens.
From Google News
Fort Lee Police Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs
Dispose your unused, unwanted and expired medications safely at the FLPD on Saturday
On April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Fort Lee Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
Chief Thomas Ripoli encourages residents to bring their medications for disposal to Fort Lee Police Headquarters at 1327 16th Street. Officers from the Community Policing Unit and the Evidence Bureau will present to provide the service which is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last October, Americans turned in 377,080 pounds or 188.5 tons of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners. In its three previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in almost a million pounds, nearly 500 tons of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash are both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.
The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like Fort Lee Police and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.