THIS week another Australian died in Asia after drinking a potentially fatal cocktail. Darwin man, Kane Scriven, died after a night of drinking in Laos. He was 40-years-old.
It’s not the first time this has happened, in fact in recent years this has become an all too common occurrence. Last year I ran a piece on “5 notorious, and potentially dangerous, party spots in Asia“. Sadly cases continue to support this notion.
The Sydney Morning Herald ran a summary in today’s paper of recent deaths:
Just over a week ago, Denni North, 33, died after being found barely conscious beside a pool in Bali.
Perth man Liam Davies, 19, died last week after suffering methanol poisoning from a drink on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok.
Melbourne man Sebastian Eric Faulkner, 21, plunged to his death from the ninth floor of a hotel in Phuket on new year’s day.
Laos has become a popular destination for mainly young Australian adventure travellers.
Three Australians died in the country within a month last year, two of them from tubing, a sport involving floating down a river.
While obviously alcohol and water don’t mix, it’s sometimes the actual content of the alcohol that is causing the problem.
There have been a number of cases involving alcohol poisoning. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
An 18-year-old Australian school leaver was blinded in Bali last month and in September 2011, Perth-based rugby player Michael Denton died after consuming arak – which is distilled from rice or palm sap and described as a colourless, sugarless beverage with a 20 to 50 per cent alcohol content.
Also in 2011, Newcastle nurse Jamie Johnston suffered brain damage and renal failure after drinking a methanol-laced cocktail in Indonesia.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr is asking Indonesia to regulate its drinks better in tourist areas. The Australian Medical Association said the sale of drinks containing methanol could be likened to manslaughter.
Methanol is sometimes added to drinks to make them more alcoholic but it can induce vomiting, headaches, gastric pain, blindness, coma, liver failure and even death.
According to stuff.co.nz incidents of methanol poisoning have risen since an Indonesian Government crack down caused taxes on foreign drinks to skyrocket.
Whether the Indonesian government can make a difference or not, Aussie travellers should take heed of these cases and exercise caution.
Liam Davies’ aunt gave this advice:
“The only way to be safe is to make sure you drink from a sealed bottle and don’t drink the local cocktails,” Mrs Prentice said.
She said all tourists heading to Indonesia needed to be made aware of the risks and was surprised the Australian and New Zealand governments were not doing more.
“It needs to be that you can’t get into Bali without seeing a sign or being given information about the dangers of these drinks.
“If governments are the way to get that into force then yeah, they should be advising tourists.