Sixty two Russians die of surrogate alcohol

At least 62 people were killed in Russia after drinking adulterated alcohol. The deaths occurred in the Siberian city of Irkutsk where people drank counterfeit bath lotion containing methanol. Boyaryshnik, a tincture supposedly meant to be added to baths for relaxation, normally contains 93% ethanol, as well as hawthorn extract and lemon oil. Bath lotion, as well as perfume, cleaning fluids, medicines and cosmetics which often contain more than 25%  ethanol are widely drunk in Russia as a cheap substitute for alcohol.

After the new incident, Russian’s president Vladimir Putin has demanded new regulations and tightened controls on products containing alcohol which are normally not intended for human consumption. So far, those products are exempt from sales restrictions and taxes for alcoholic drinks. They are often even sold at drinks kiosks and vending machines. The Kaluga 24 television channel reported in October that the Kaluga region has begun selling thornapple tincture, a medicine consisting of 70 percent ethyl alcohol, from vending machines. The medicine is much cheaper than even the cheapest bottle of vodka and is available 24 hours a day without prescription.

The problem of consumption of adulterated alcohol is widespread in Russia. From January to September 2016, 9,300 Russians died from alcohol poisoning of which, 1,200 had died from methanol poisoning.

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