Sweden has had to change the way that they sell hand sanitiser recently; after teenagers began drinking the substance in order to strap on a hygienic wave for the weekend.
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All off-licenses in the country are government-owned and shoppers must be 20 years or older to buy alcohol from them. Alternatively, they can drink in restaurants and bars at the age of 18 and up. However, restrictions are now also being placed on the sale of hand sanitisers and the majority of them can only be purchased over the counter in pharmacies. Police spokesman, Stefan Sund, has revealed that there has been an increase in teenagers hospitalised after consuming the antibacterial gels in order to become intoxicated:
Young people come into the emergency room with alcohol poisoning and said they had drunk alcogel .
Young people mix alcogel and orange juice.
He went on to explain that the police had requested pharmacies change their policy when selling hand gel to minors:
There were no problems whatsoever. Everyone took it off [the shelves] right away. In much the same way as we did for acetone…
The issue has been particularly prevalent in the cities of Karlskoga, Degerfors and HÃ¤llefors, and all pharmacies in these regions have complied with the police’s request to change their policy.
The culprits have been between the ages of 15 and 17, and as there is no legal age limit for purchasing hand sanitiser in Sweden, they’ve been getting away with their boozy habits up until now. However, authorities are concerned that the chemicals and the high alcohol content in the hand gel might have adverse affects, as Stefan explains:
There is no difference [between] hand disinfectant and alcogel, more than that it is a higher alcohol content in alcogel.
And he’s got a point, alcohol really can be dangerous to kids. Just ask the parents who’s son died after they forced him to get hammered.