The Southern Turkish city of Mersin has been rocked by a string of suspected alcohol poisoning since last week and five more people sought treatment yesterday for poisoning, media outlets reported.
Five people died in one week in the city after they were hospitalized for suspected methyl alcohol poisoning. Currently, 16 people are being treated for poisoning.
Authorities stepped up inspections in Mezitli, a district where some of the deaths occurred. Police and crews from the Agriculture Ministry tasked with food and drinks inspections, checked places selling alcohol. Investigations are still underway in regards to the source of poisonings.
Methyl alcohol is a cheaper substitute for ethyl alcohol, an expensive chemical present in the composition of genuine alcoholic drinks and is usually used by sellers of bootleg or fake alcoholic drinks.
Bootleg liquor killed 34 people in one month in 2015, the highest death toll from alcohol in the country in such a short period. Bootleg drinks claimed about 10,000 lives across the world over the past decade and more than 100 people fell victim to deadly beverages in Turkey in recent years.
There is a lucrative, illegal industry of bootlegged, fake alcoholic drinks in the face of steep taxes in Turkey. Methyl alcohol is an ingredient in industrial substances like varnish and can be lethal if ingested.
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