Homemade alcohol kills 8 and injures dozens in Morocco

Homemade alcohol kills 8 and injures dozens in Morocco
Photo source: Shutterstock

Morocco's health ministry announced on Wednesday that eight people died and dozens were hospitalized after consuming homemade alcohol in Sidi Allal Tazi, about 60 miles north of Rabat. Over a three-day period starting Monday, more than 100 people in the town were poisoned by methanol-laced alcohol, the ministry reported.

Two suspects, aged 21 and 41, who were responsible for making the bootleg alcohol, are among those hospitalized.

Methanol poisoning has been a recurring issue in Morocco, with seven deaths in Meknes last year and 19 in Ksar El Kebir in 2022. 

Methanol, used as a solvent or fuel source, smells a lot like ethanol, which is safely used in alcohol production. Its lower cost makes it attractive to bootleggers, but it is highly dangerous and can cause death or blindness. Those displaying symptoms are advised to drink ethanol to halt the effects of the methanol poisoning and seek immediate medical attention. 

Globally, methanol poisoning incidents are common. Two years ago, 21 teenagers died in South Africa and 50 people died in Peru after consuming methanol-tainted alcohol. Experts note that countries with alcohol bans, like Morocco, experience higher rates of methanol poisoning due to the black market and its unsafe production methods.

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