Georgia school warns parents about students getting drunk off vanilla extract

High school students are allegedly trying to get drunk by any means necessary, including purchasing pure vanilla extract, according to an Atlanta high school’s Facebook post.

Parents are being warned via Facebook that students at Grady High School are purchasing Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract, which contains 35 percent alcohol. “Another thing to keep an eye out for,” the school wrote.

Houston news station KHOU reported that school officials caught a few students at the school becoming intoxicated off vanilla extract this week after purchasing the flavoring at a store nearby the school. Atlanta school officials told the outlet that the students poured it in their coffee.

It is unknown how much of the vanilla extract the students consumed, but one student was reportedly hospitalized afterward. The parents of the hospitalized student removed him or her from Grady after the incident.

The National Capital Poison Center warns about the drinking of vanilla extract. As it contains the same type of alcohol as beer, wine and liquor, children, especially, are at risk of alcohol poisoning.

When vanilla extract is made, vanilla beans are soaked in alcohol for a number of days.

One four-ounce shot of vanilla extract is equal to drinking four shots of vodka,” Robert Geller, medical director of the Georgia Poison Center, told KHOU. “The vanilla extract is usually 35 percent or 70 proof. Vodka is usually 70 or 80 percent proof.”

While cooking or baking vanilla extract causes the alcohol to dissolve, it has a strong alcohol proof raw, and people do not need to show ID when purchasing the product. Stores also offer vanilla extract that is alcohol-free.

In January, a 50-year-old Connecticut woman was charged with driving under the influence after police found her at an intersection, with her eyes closed, at about 4:45 p.m. Officers said they found several bottles of pure vanilla extract inside her car and detected vanilla on her breath.

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