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Alcohol poisoning in Irkutsk is an 'outrage' says Putin as death toll hits 75

By The Siberian Times reporter
23 December 2016

Rise of excise duties on alcohol surrogates is 'justifiable' after the 'tremendous tragedy' in Siberia.

'What happened in Irkutsk was a tremendous tragedy. Words fail me.' Picture:

This week's poisoning after people drank bath lotion or oil has now led to 75 deaths, with 19 people still requiring hospital treatment, said Irkutsk Region's Health Ministry spokeswoman Tatyana Lebedeva. 

In his annual press conference in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin said: 'What happened in Irkutsk was a tremendous tragedy. Words fail me. Certainly this was an outrage because the inspectors and other agencies were  supposed to prevent it, and didn't do so.'

He said that 'foreign' people were responsible for the abuse which involved methanol.

The government was raising excise on alcohol surrogates in an attempt to discourage people drinking these substitutes, and this risked damage to other industries, for example the perfume business. 

'These actions are justifiable because of these tragedies,' he said. 

But he ruled out a major crackdown on alcohol despite recognising Russia had a problem, although no worse than Nordic countries. 

'We cannot simply ban things,' he said. 

Comments (4)

The other commenters seem to be missing the forest for the trees. The key to eliminating surrogate alcohol abuse is removing the factors contributing to alcoholism. Socioeconomic and psychological problems cause people to turn to alcohol for relief.
Justin Reid, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
06/06/2017 19:04
The distasteful additive idea is a good one, and perhaps should be considered. Also worth a look at is some kind of informative labelling detailing that the stuff is toxic if consumed internally.
Simon Robinson, Blackburn, England
30/12/2016 19:35
I agree with Andres Suarez. Perhaps a bitter additive such as Brucine or Denatonium would deter ingestion.
Graham Palmer, Wickford, Essex, UK
24/12/2016 19:01
Difficult problem. Maybe making the producers to add a substance that tastes awful will discourage the consumers; that could result a cheap way to solve it.
Andres Suarez, Cancun, Mexico
23/12/2016 23:30

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