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(KNBC) -- Some teens are drinking hand sanitizer and ending up with alcohol poisoning, according to public health officials.

Some of the teenagers used salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer, making a potent drink that is similar to a shot of hard liquor.

"A person who has never had alcohol before can get drunk instantaneously. It is very, very dangerous," said Dr. Calvin Lowe, of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

Although there have been only a handful of cases, public health officials said the practice could easily become a larger problem.

Bottles of hand sanitizer are inexpensive and accessible, and teenagers can find distillation instructions on the Internet.

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