Alcohol formula

Gujarat, India: Dozens dead after drinking smuggled alcohol in western state

All had consumed illegal alcohol in Botad and Ahmedabad districts of Gujarat state, where the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol is illegal.

“About 10 people were arrested and around 475 liters of liquid were recovered,” said Ashish Bhatia, Gujarat Police Chief Executive.

Bhatia said one of the arrested men stole methanol from a factory in Gujarat and sold it to a cousin, who then resold it to others who diluted the chemical with water and had sold it as alcohol. Methanol can make people intoxicated, but even a very small amount can be toxic.

Deaths from the consumption of bootleg alcohol – colloquially known as “country booze” – are not uncommon in India.

While Gujarat and a few other Indian states criminalize the sale and consumption of alcohol, it is legal in most of the country by 1.3 billion people, 22.5% of whom live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

But even in states where drinking alcohol is legal, bootleg liquor remains popular, especially in poorer rural areas.

Moonshine is usually brewed in villages before being smuggled into towns, where it can sell for around 10 cents a glass, or about a third of the price of legally brewed liquor.
According to SafeProof, homemade alcohol can turn deadly when other liquids like rubbing alcohol or methanol are added to the mix.
Methanol poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, and heart or respiratory failure, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and the inability to coordinate muscle movement, the CDC said.

“The byproducts of methanol metabolism cause acid buildup in the blood (metabolic acidosis), blindness, and death,” according to the CDC.

This week’s deaths are the latest tragedy in India’s long battle to control illicit trade.

In February 2019, at least 154 people died and more than 200 were hospitalized after consuming contaminated alcohol in the northeastern state of Assam.
Earlier that month, 80 people died in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand after consuming illegal alcohol, prompting regional police to crack down on smugglers.