Hand sanitizer abused by addicts in wake of H1N1 flu
WINNIPEG (CP) — It’s an unintended consequence of the fight against germs during the recent outbreak of the H1NI virus.
Police and social advocates say addicts are abusing hand sanitizer after the product flooded onto store shelves and into dispensers in most public buildings last year.
Sgt. Darrall Randy Kotchon, a Winnipeg police officer who works in a community support unit, said his officers have received reports that addicts are consuming the gel and have found a lot of discarded bottles of the stuff.
Experts say people are adding salt to the sanitizer, which separates pure alcohol from the product with potentially dangerous results.
At one of the city’s main shelters workers have confiscated sanitizer bottles and stopped leaving salt out on tables so people have to ask to use it.
“It’s similar to individuals who are using sniff, or they’re using mouthwash, or they’re using hairspray,” said Kotchon.
Reports of hand sanitizer abuse began last year, said police, when officers encountered the issue on patrol and from reports by residents. Business owners need to be particularly vigilant, he said.