MIDDLETOWN >> A city woman was arrested for driving under the influence after allegedly drinking hand sanitizer.
Jennifer Wilcox, 36, 33 Russell St., was charged and released on a $500 bond for the incident and is due in court on Oct. 19.
According to police reports, officers saw a car come around the corner of Rapallo Ave on Oct. 5.
The driver, later identified as Wilcox, lost control of the car and spun out of control, almost hitting another car police had stopped, police reported. Officers went to check on Wilcox and reported smelling alcohol coming from her. Wilcox allegedly denied drinking alcohol, but agreed to take the field sobriety tests. Wilcox failed the tests and was placed under arrest, police reported. Police said Wilcox later “admitted to drinking one half of a bottle of hand sanitizer.”
Police administered breathalyzer tests on Wilcox at the station. The first result came back with a blood alcohol level of .1764, more than twice the legal limit of .08. The second test was done approximately 30 minutes later and came back as .1577. Wilcox was released later the same day.
According to a report by ABC News, teens using hand sanitizer is a rising trend that is causing concern among parents. Six teenagers were hospitalized in California for alcohol poisoning from drinking hand sanitizer recently
Dr. Cyrus Rangan, a medical toxicology consultant for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles told ABC News that drinking hand sanitizer can lead to brain, liver and kidney damage. ABC News also reported that doctors have said ingesting the gel form, which is 62 to 65 per cent ethyl alcohol, can cause the same intoxicating effects as liquor such as slurred speech, unresponsiveness and possibly falling into a coma state.
Parents are being cautioned to watch for signs of their teens abusing hand sanitizer and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence website recommends parents buy the foam version instead of gel because it is harder to extract the alcohol from it. The website, www.ncadd.org said teens are distilling the hand sanitizer and making a 120-proof liquid, whereas most vodka is around 80-proof. After a few drinks of the distilled liquid “people can become so drunk theur need to be monitored in the emergency room.”