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Entries in drunk (5)

Wednesday
Apr252012

Teens Getting Drunk on Hand Sanitizer 

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- As many as six California teenagers were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning last month, and two last weekend alone, from drinking hand sanitizer.

Coming on the heels of cough medicine, hand sanitizer is the latest in a string of household products used to induce intoxication, and it has public health officials worried, as a few squirts of hand sanitizer could equal a couple of shots of hard liquor.

“This is a rapidly emerging trend,” Dr. Cyrus Rangan, medical toxicology consultant for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, said in a news conference Tuesday.

About 2,600 cases have been reported in California since 2010, but it’s become a national problem.

“It’s not just localized to us,” Helen Arbogast, an injury prevention coordinator in the trauma program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told ABC News. “Since 2009 we can see on YouTube it’s in all regions of the country. We see it in the South, in the Midwest, in the East.”

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Liquid hand sanitizer is 62- to 65-percent ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, the main ingredient in beer, wine and spirits, making it 120-proof. To compare, a bottle of vodka is 80-proof.

“A few swallows is all it takes to get a person to get the intoxicated effects of alcohol,” Rangan said.

Doctors said ingesting hand sanitizer can produce the same side effects as consuming large amounts of alcohol -- slurred speech, unresponsiveness, possibly falling into a coma state.

Rangan warned that long-term use could lead to brain, liver and kidney damage.

Teenagers use salt to break up the alcohol from the sanitizer to get a more powerful dose. These distillation instructions can be found on the Internet in tutorial videos that describe in detail how to do it. Other troubling videos have surfaced online showing kids laughing as they purposely ingested sanitizer, many boasting of fulfilling a dare.

Dr. Sean Nordt, director of toxicology at the USC Los Angeles County Emergency Department, told ABC News it used to get reports of children accidentally consuming small amounts of hand sanitizer, but now the trend is toward purposeful ingestion by those who cannot purchase or obtain alcohol legally.

“We get worried about children getting into these, but it is different from an adolescent who is trying to drink half a bottle to get drunk,” said Nordt.

And it’s a tough problem to combat, as hand sanitizer is inexpensive and seems to be available at the entrance of every door. Young people can buy pocket-size bottles, which can be the equivalent of two-three shots of hard liquor, or huge tubs at most markets and stores.

Arbogast said foam hand sanitizer was a safer option to keep around the house, but “any hand sanitizer will be at risk for alcohol poisoning, as the foam type is still 62-percent ethyl alcohol,” she said at Tuesday's news conference.

Rangan cautioned parents to treat hand sanitizers “like we treat any medication in the home as far as safety is concerned. Keep it out of reach, out of sight, out of mind when not in use.”

Nordt said he hoped parents and store clerks would become more vigilant and monitor the sales of hand sanitizers.

“Most stores will sell it to an adolescent without thinking twice,” Nordt told ABC News. “Maybe now they will.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

Students Who Post Drunken Facebook Photos Could Be at Risk, Study Says

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- College students who post the details of their drunken nights on Facebook can end up with a few problems on their hands -- embarrassment, regret or explanations to Mom and Dad. But a new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests those Facebook postings may also signal that a student is at clinical risk of having a drinking problem.

Dr. Megan Moreno, the study's lead author and a pediatrician, said she often talks with teenage patients and parents who are worried about college students they know who post status updates on Facebook about drinking.

"College is a frequent time that students will drink, and we often see references to alcohol on Facebook," she said. "So we wanted to find if there is a way to separate what might be 'rite of passage' drinking from drinking that shows actual clinical risk."

Moreno and her colleagues analyzed more than 200 Facebook profiles of 18- to 20-year-old college students at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington, looking for pictures, status updates and comments that referred to drinking alcohol. Then they had those students, both with and without alcohol mentions on their profiles, take the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, a survey that clinicians use to assess potential problems with alcohol.

They found that students who posted on Facebook about drinking while driving, blacking out, drinking alone or other "problem drinking" behaviors were more likely to be considered "at-risk" for alcoholism. Based on their responses to the clinical survey, the researchers found that 58 percent of them met the clinical definition for at-risk problem drinking, compared with 38 percent who merely displayed alcohol in pictures or status updates on their profiles.

The study also found that students who posted about problem drinking behaviors were more than six times as likely to report an alcohol-related injury, compared with students who didn't mention alcohol use on Facebook at all.

The study was published online on Monday in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Moreno said that Facebook posts and Twitter hashtags don't always indicate that a student has an alcohol problem. Nearly 23 percent of the students in the study who never mentioned alcohol on Facebook were still considered at-risk based on their responses to the clinical survey. But she said social media activity can be a red flag that some students have a problem. The key is to keep an eye on how a young person talks about alcohol use.

Moreno said the goal of her study wasn't to encourage university officials to stalk students' drinking habits on Facebook. But she said social media tools could be a valuable way to reach students who weren't willing to report their problems with alcohol on their own.

"Most college students are going to balk at being approached by a stranger about their drinking. The most helpful approaches are going to be by someone in that student's trusted circle," Moreno said. "Often that cool aunt or uncle who is the student's Facebook friend, or even other college friends or an RA [Resident Advisor] will be in the best position to help."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr152011

Vodka & Red Bull Makes You Think You Have 'Wings'

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky.) -- Many states have banned those combination alcohol and caffeinated energy drinks because of their negative effects, especially after incidents involving college students last fall.

Now, a new study from Northern Kentucky University confirms those two-in-one drinks pack a powerful punch.

Before they were banned, drinks such as Four Loko were all the rage among college students, many of whom landed in the hospital after consumption.


Researchers wanted to know if people who mix alcohol with a caffeinated energy drink get more or less drunk than those who drink alcohol alone.

Some of the participants in the study drank vodka and Red Bull, while others drank vodka with decaffeinated soda.  Both groups were equally impaired when asked to perform a number of tests.

However, those who had the Red Bull cocktail felt more stimulated and their perception of being impaired was distorted.  In other works, they didn't feel as drunk as they actually were.

The study author warns that people should avoid mixing alcohol and energy drinks.  They may make you feel like you're flying, but they're a potent and potentially harmful combination.

So if you're planning to have a drink, have your alcohol straight, on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail -- one that does not include Red Bull or similar beverages.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

Monkeys: They're Drunks Like Us 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The physiological and genetic similarities between humans and monkeys make the hairier primates a great stand-in for humans when it comes to understanding the causes and effects of alcohol consumption, scientists say. For years, researchers have studied how monkeys react when introduced to alcohol, how much they drink and more.

Here are just a few examples of how these jungle dwellers imbibe like human bar flies:

1. They Get Hooked Young: Scientists have found that monkeys who are introduced to alcohol in their adolescence are more likely to drink more alcohol when they get older than those who stay dry.

2. Slaking a Stressed-Out Thirst: Monkeys will drink more heavily when in a stressful situation.

3. Slurring Their Speech: Monkeys' lips droop and their speech patterns are impaired by alcohol use.

4. Social Drinker or Teetotaler? Monkeys can fall into different patterns of drinking, including abstinence, social drinking, heavy drinking, and abusive drinking.

5. Intoxicating Inheritance: As with humans, monkeys can be genetically predisposed to alcoholism.

6. The Hangover: Monkeys don't bounce back after a bender; They get hangovers and those who drink constantly can develop liver disease.

7. Grand Theft Alcohol: Monkeys aren't above stealing when they want to get their drink on -- wild monkeys have been known to swipe cocktails from patrons at tropical resorts. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan192011

Study Finds One in 12 Are Drunk at Major Sporting Events

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Many fans lucky enough to have tickets to one of the NFL conference championship games this weekend will cheer for their team with a beer in hand, and about one in 12 will leave the stadium legally drunk, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota say people under the age of 35 were eight times more likely to be legally drunk than other attendees, and fans who tailgate in the parking lot before the game were the worst offenders -- they were 14 times more likely to leave a game intoxicated.

In an anonymous survey given by the researchers after administering a breathalyzer test, one in four tailgaters owned up to downing at least five alcoholic beverages, with those in the highest BAC range knocking back an average of 6.6 drinks.

Doug Shavel, who has tailgated at New York Jets home games in Giants Stadium for more than 10 years, agreed that tailgating and drinking seem to go hand in hand.

"Everywhere you look voluminous quantities of alcohol are being consumed," he said. "People arrive by 9 a.m. for a [1 p.m.] kickoff and they're drinking the entire time. Some continue drinking postgame while they wait for the parking lot to clear out."

Shavel has seen a lot of bad behavior in his time that can be attributed to drinking. Once a drunken fan vomited on the person sitting next to him, then later he saw someone puking in the aisles. At another event, Shavel said he saw a man who was so inebriated he had to be carried out on a stretcher with an IV attached to his arm.

In his own tailgating circle, a friend once drank until he was so drunk he fell over into a pit of hot charcoal. "That's the exception, not the rule," Shavel insisted.

In fact, the percentage of drinkers discovered by the study may seem surprising low to anyone who has ever attended a sporting event and witnessed an alcohol-fueled fist fight or someone staggering through the stands.

But lead investigator Darin Erickson, an assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota's School of Public Health said the numbers match up with findings from a previous study.

"People's perception of how many people get drunk at games may be somewhat distorted. Their estimates are likely greater than the actual numbers," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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