A growing number of teenagers have turned to guzzling hand sanitizer in a desperate effort to get a buzz. According to reports, six teenagers recently ended up in Southern California emergency rooms with alcohol poisoning after consuming large amounts of the gel.

Doctors warn that although it has only emerged in recent months, the trend is gaining momentum. Sanitizers are inexpensive and accessible, and with distillation instructions available online, teens are taking advantage of the 62 percent ethyl alcohol content and turning a product designed to sanitize hands into a 120-proof drink.

Experts comment that drinking the sanitizer is similar to a shot of hard liquor. Just a few drinks can cause a person's speech to slur and stomach to burn, and make them so drunk that they have to be monitored in the emergency room.

To minimize the threat, experts recommend purchasing foam sanitizers over the gel options. It is reportedly more difficult to extract the alcohol from foam and teens would be less likely to consume it.

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