In one of the worst alcohol-related tragedies in Indonesia, more than 80 people have died and many more have been admitted to hospitals across the country after drinking bootleg booze. The toll may rise, as nearly 100 people are understood to have consumed the illegally produced spurious liquor, authorities said on April 10, 2018. Many of them are battling for life in various hospitals. The worst-hit areas included West Java, eastern province of Papua, and Jakarta.
Doctors at emergency rooms in state-run hospitals said the victims were rushed with complaints of blurred vision, shortness of breath, and reduced consciousness. National Police Spokesman Setyo Wasisto said that 51 died in West Java in the past few days, whereas another 31 deaths were reported from Jakarta and satellite cities earlier this month.
To handle the situation following the nation’s worst alcohol poisoning crisis in years, officials in Bandung, a big city in West Java, have declared a state of emergency. Police have arrested about 12 suspects in Jakarta on charges of manufacturing and selling the lethal home-brewed alcohol. Though there is no clarity if the deaths occurred due to the formation of methanol in the drink, authorities confirmed the presence of several deadly ingredients, cough mixture and insect repellent. “It was a blend of components not fit for consumption. We are still testing to determine the contents,” said Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko, a police spokesperson.
Being one of the most populous Muslim nations in the world, strict Islamic laws impose heavy taxes on alcohol, leading to the creation of a parallel black market for booze. Though drinking is discouraged nationwide, it is legal to consume alcohol in Indonesia. In 2015, succumbing to pressure from the conservative sections of society, the government prohibited sales of alcohol in thousands of small stores and outlets across the country.
This is not the first incident where lethal alcohol has claimed unsuspecting lives in Indonesia. In the past, several foreign tourists have died after consuming poisonous local spirits and alcoholic beverages, especially in the Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok. In 2016, about 24 people died after consuming illicit spirits made from ethanol, fruit, and water.
Alcohol is dangerous
Any form of alcohol can be dangerous. It is an addictive substance and can cause death, if taken in excess. Alcohol addiction is a serious mental disorder, where an individual is unable to resist the urge to drink. The best way to deal with alcoholism is to rein in the urges to go for the next drink. However, this may sound easier said than done.
While dealing with individuals battling alcohol use disorder (AUD), there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What may work for one person may not work at all for the other. The different approaches used to treat alcoholism are a combination of medications, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and enrolling patients in mutual-support groups. So if a person is suffering from alcohol addiction, he/she should immediately seek profession help from a reputed rehab center.
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