People are drinking alcohol-based mouthwash because it’s now cheaper than regular alcoholic drinks in some parts of Australia.
Health workers have warned that they risk serious consequences, even death.
Street cleaners lately have been stumbling on scores of empty bottles of a popular mouthwash, which is nearly 30 per cent pure alcohol.
And in the space of a few weeks, supermarkets and pharmacists have seen mouth wash sales suddenly go through the roof.
“This particular mouthwash has eucalyptus oil in it, which is an essential oil, and it doesn’t take much eucalyptus oil to cause damage, it can cause fits, it can even cause death.” A health worker said in response to the question, “How dangerous is it to drink?”
Public health advocate, Doctor John Boffa, says it’s hardly surprising that drinkers are looking for alcoholic substitutes. “A 500ml bottle, which is what’s being sold in the supermarkets, you’re talking about 15 standard drinks. So it’s a very large volume of alcohol. It’s enough to get to an intoxication level of 0.05 three times over.”
Government health authorities are looking into the growing problem.
Recovering alcoholics should take this a warning that mouth wash may get them drunk.
Adapted from a transcript of radio show ‘AM’ of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC).