First it was Gummi Bears submerged in alcohol, then it was vodka-soaked tampons. Now teens are making news for consuming distilled hand sanitizer to get drunk. Not only are teens getting drunk (the distilled product could be as high as 120 proof compared to a shot of vodka which is 80 proof), they are being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning and other problems.
Between 2005 and 2009, reports show that the number of new cases of hand sanitizer ingestion increased by an average of 1,894 per year. Although shocking, the trend isn’t entirely new. Teens also have been known to get drunk on mouthwash and common cooking ingredients like vanilla or lemon extract.
Crunk: The Latest Teen Drug Trend
The latest teen drug trend being reported is "crunk" (or a "crunk concoction"), a blend of soda or another beverage with over-the-counter cough syrup and prescription pills that teens are making at home. Because many of the most commonly abuse prescription drugs are opiates, experts warn that high doses can depress the nervous system and slow down the heart.
Like cough syrup and prescription pills that are abused alone, crunk can result in blackouts, depressed breathing, and impaired speech and motor skills. A Hawaii man recently made headlines after dying in his sleep after drinking crunk, and local law enforcement believe crunk has caused four overdose deaths since 2009.
Even crunk isn’t entirely new. Rappers have long touted the thrills of "crunk juice," a combination of energy drinks and various types of alcohol. Others use "crunk" as a general term for being drunk or combining chronic (marijuana) with alcohol. It is also a southern style of hip-hop music.
Experts hope that parents will use this latest teen drug trend as an opportunity to educate their children about the dangers of over-the-counter and prescription drugs, which teens assume are safer than illicit drugs. Reports suggest that children as young as elementary school age are getting in on the crunking craze, often using prescription drugs stolen from home medicine cabinets.
If you haven’t already done so, here is another reminder: Lock your medicine cabinets. Talk to your kids about drugs. Ignoring the problem only increases the chances that your child will become the latest statistic.