Hand Sanitizer: A Different Kind of Buzz?

Maybe not: Will Oremus
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2012 12:34 PM CDT
Hand Sanitizer: A Different Kind of Buzz?
So, would this be any better or worse than vodka?   (©Valerie Everett)

Some teens are, apparently, now getting drunk on hand sanitizer—would such a binge feel any different than the type of intoxication brought about by more traditional forms of alcohol? Not necessarily, writes Will Oremus in Slate's Explainer column, because "ethyl alcohol is ethyl alcohol" no matter what it's fermented from. There's no proof that different types of alcohol result in different types of drunken moods.

However, a beverage's nonalcoholic ingredients could make a difference (for example, a compound in red wine causes severe headaches in some people), as could the mixers used (diet soda is more likely to cause vomiting than regular soda) or the toxins contained in some types of hard alcohol that occur as a result of the fermentation process. But since byproducts are unlikely to be an issue in this case—hand sanitizer is mostly alcohol and water—the biggest factor is likely the high alcohol concentration, which could cause quick intoxication. Click for the full column, which also addresses the age-old question of "beer before liquor." (More hand sanitizer stories.)

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