Saturday, June 12, 2004
Alcohol Prohibition Deaths in Iran
The production and consumption of alcohol in Iran have been banned since 1978 [correction: it should be 1979]. But of course, that stops neither production nor consumption, though it may reduce it, and certainly drives it to the black market. And black market alcohol will tend to be more dangerous than the legally-produced version:
Twelve Iranians have died [update: at least 19 have died] and 60 others have been poisoned after drinking alcohol laced with methanol apparently bought on the black market in the southern city of Shiraz.Now what was that that Clarence Darrow said? Oh yeah: "Men were as sure that it was just to condemn heresy and witchcraft by death as their lineal descendants are sure of the righteousness of spreading poison broadcast to-day in the interest of the 'Noble Experiment' of prohibition." Come to think of it, heresy could get you in a lot of trouble in Iran, too. And one of the good things about our drug prohibition is that it doesn't lead to such problems, right?
An official from the southern city's university hospital, Mohammad Baqer Lankarani, says that 23 of those admitted for care are in a critical condition.
"Doctors are not very optimistic," he said.
Up to six of the victims have also reportedly been blinded.
He says the locally-produced alcohol consumed appears to contain methanol, a highly poisonous industrial alcohol used in the manufacture of dyes and anti-freeze.
Small quantities of the chemical can kill, blind and cause serious damage to the liver and kidneys.