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More deaths from arak alcohol poisoning

Several more foreigners and have died from drinking the methanol tainted palm wine arak. Rose Johnson died on Sunday and Alan Colen, 59 from died on Saturday. He had been living in Bali for 13 years.

Other victims include Rachel Craig, 22, from the Irish Republic, and Rene Puper, 23, her Dutch boyfriend according to the Times Online.

“There was nothing we could do for him,” Dr Ida Bagus Alit, of Sanglah Hospital, told The Times. “When methanol gets into the bloodstream the victim deteriorates very quickly. It attacks the eyes, the liver and the kidneys. A very small amount of methanol — as little as 60ml — can kill you.”

Police have arrested the owner of an arak factory after finding arak containing methanol. Reports suggest that death from drinking the tainted alcohol is slow and painful, with victims experiencing vomiting, seizures and pain to their eyes.

Here is one of the comments on the Times article:

The insidious aspect of this story is that the victims could not have known that what they were drinking would kill them. In fact, the methanol did not kill them, the toxic formaldehyde produced by methanol oxidation in the human system is what killed them. A terrible, excruciating death for anyone.

Perhaps this will lead to a softening of the high taxes on alcohol. I guess we will at least have to wait until after the election.



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One Response to More deaths from arak alcohol poisoning

  1. Seraya July 12, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    The Indonesian govt will not likely lighten the duty on imported alcohol because of this, but now that I’ve lived in Bali for a few years, I know their logic. And here are some liklier scenarios:

    – The govt bans all alcoholic beverages in concern for public safety.
    – The govt regulates the sale of methanol (as they do solar / diesel)
    – The govt begins a scheme of registering (for a fee) all those who wish to home brew tuak and arak.

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