Hand san­i­tizer abused by ad­dicts in wake of H1N1 flu

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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