The New York Times announced that due to recent deaths from methanol-contaminated alcohol, the Czech Republic has begun a prohibition. All alcohol that is 20% or higher in alcohol content is banned from being sold for the time being. 20 deaths have resulted from this contamination in the last two, which has shocked and frightened the country. All of the alcohol that was contaminated came from the black market. The un-approved alcohol had been marked down to a special price and had fake labels on the bottles. The methanol laced liquor was being sold at kiosks and other lower income bars and establishments. Czech’s government had always turned a blind eye to the alcohol’s black market, that is until now. The people who are not apart of the 20 who have died thus far have suffered from nausea, blurred vision resulting in blindness, and brain damage. Currently a Norwegian drug is being used on the ill victims to rid their bodies of methanol. It has yet to be officially determined when this prohibition will let up. Until then, however, The Czech Republic will be suffering from great financial loss, and a reevaluation of the government control of alcohol.
The Czech Republic is the second ranked country on the list of most hard alcohol consumed worldwide. It would seem that they would have a rather efficient system of controlling and supervising the alcohol market, but the do not. The country did have four decades of communist rule which would set up some rocky beginning with the new found freedom. However the government knew full and well of the alcohol black market and only cared about it until these recent deaths. Alcohol is something that has been around and enjoyed nearly forever. It is not something that can just be taken away or limited too much. According to the Huffington Post, alcohol kills more people then AIDS, tuberculosis and violence. 4% of death worldwide is caused from alcohol. This seems to be something that no one can afford to ignore. This devastating incident will hopefully stand for a wake up call to the Czech government to monitor this dangerous but ever loved substance more closely.