Teens finding ways to get high is nothing new; the type of substance may change from time to time, along with the methods, but the end result is the same. But if teens find themselves in trouble with the law, facing drug or alcohol charges, it doesn't mean they're bad people.
In fact, a young person is often a good candidate for criminal drug diversion, because a mistake shouldn't follow the teen into their adult years.
As Anna Gorman reports for the Los Angeles Times, gone are the days when teens huffed spray paint to get high. These days, some teens' methods are a bit more sophisticated: using salt to extract alcohol from hand sanitizer. You end up with a potent 120-proof shot. "It is kind of scary that they go to that extent to get a shot of essentially hard liquor," said a medical toxicology consultant.
An earlier trend involving teens using cough syrup was described as "sexy," having some sort of inherent allure, and officials worry that hand sanitizer will take on that same allure. As Gorman reports, hand sanitizer can be 62 percent ethyl alcohol, which translates into a 120-proof shot after salt extracts the alcohol, and the practice can easily escalate into a dangerous trend.
The person who characterized teens' perception of using cough syrup as "sexy" is an injury prevention coordinator for a hospital. She said, "When young people are actively and purposely ingesting [alcohol from hand sanitizer], that is when it becomes a real concern."
If you are facing criminal charges, contact a Maryland criminal attorney before you talk to police or anyone else.