Deaths caused by alcohol poisoning around the world are on the rise. There are many forms of alcohol poisoning. Drinking legal authentic alcohol in excess, or binge drinking, can lead to alcohol poisoning. Drinking counterfeit, tainted or fake alcohol is another cause of deaths from alcohol poisoning. A third cause of alcohol poisoning is the accidental ingestion of industrial or household products that contain methanol or other forms of alcohol.
The death toll from alcohol poisoning worldwide is not accurate for many reasons.
- Patients presenting at hospitals are not properly diagnosed
- Deaths are attributed to an effect of alcohol poisoning, such as choking, falling or respiratory distress
- Medical causes of death do not include alcohol poisoning in the statistics of some countries
- All alcohol related deaths are grouped together, including diseases and health damage from long term consumption, and car accidents
In the most recent data issued by the CDC in the United States alcohol poisoning accounts for 2200 deaths per year (2010 -2012 average data collected). The World Health Organization does not yet break out deaths from alcohol poisoning, but rather lumps all alcohol related deaths together for an aggregate rate of death from alcohol related causes.
The Mayo Clinic, the #1 ranked health facility in the United States, is at the forefront of alcohol poisoning awareness, both for medical staff in treatment, and to the public in recognizing the symptoms. Alcohol poisoning symptoms are the same whether the cause is binge drinking, over consumption, accidental, or from consuming tainted, fake or counterfeit alcohol.
The Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning as per the Mayo Clinic:
- Slow breathing (less than 8 breaths a minute)
- Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
- Blue tinged or pale skin coloring
- Low Body Temperature
- Passing out (unconsciousness)
Contrary to public perception alcohol poisoning is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. If alcohol poisoning is suspected emergency medical assistance is required immediately. You can NOT reverse alcohol poisoning with coffee, by walking in the fresh air nor by sleeping it off. In fact, each of these mythical cures are dangerous to the person experiencing alcohol poisoning.
When seeking medical help for alcohol poisoning, be prepared to give the medical personnel as much information as possible, what was consumed, how much, how long ago, and most importantly tell that that you suspect alcohol poisoning.
Untreated alcohol poisoning can lead to death from choking on vomit, breathing that becomes irregular, slow or stops, irregular heart beat that stops, Low body temperature, low blood sugar, dehydration leading to brain damage and death.
When is the Line Crossed From being Drunk to Being Poisoned
Although drunk driving laws have yet to be amended to the lower level of 0.05% Blood alcohol content (BAC), the medical community recognizes that impairment begins at that level. From 0.05% – 0.15% BAC increased intoxication accompanied by speech, balance, and memory impairment are noticeable. Serious impairment begins at 0.16% BAC through 0.30% BAC, and here the line is crossed to possible alcohol poisoning. A BAC above .031% becomes a life-threatening situation.
How much legal alcohol that someone must drink to enter the life-threatening phase of intoxication varies by weight, gender and kind of alcohol consumed. Naturally the stronger, more proof, alcohol that is being consumed will hasten the BAC. The average beer is 5% alcohol by volume, wine 12% alcohol by volume, while distilled spirits begin at 40% alcohol by volume and can increase to 95% alcohol by volume.
When drinking fake, tainted or counterfeit alcohol the proof is unknown. The kind of alcohol is also unknown. Most fake, tainted and counterfeit alcohol contains deadly methanol derived from industrial chemicals that is not safe for human consumption at any level. The consumption of methanol can lead to kidney failure, blindness, never and liver damage. Drinking fake, tainted or counterfeit alcohol is a health emergency, treatment should be sought as soon as possible. It should be treated as chemical poisoning, not as drinking too much.
Who Crosses the Line to Alcohol Poisoning?
Relevant data relating to the victims of alcohol poisoning is not currently tracked by most countries. In the United States, the CDC attempts to gather a data snapshot based on hospital admissions and diagnoses for alcohol poisoning. The most recent data published in 2015, is a composite picture of deaths from alcohol poisoning in the United States encompassing the years 2010-2012.
The CDC Data on alcohol poisoning deaths shows that the 45-54-year-old age group leads in death by alcohol poisoning.
Deaths by age from alcohol poisoning:
- 15-24 – 5%
- 25-34 – 13%
- 35-44 – 21%
- 45-54 – 34%
- 55-64 – 21%
- Over 65 – 6%
This data is now over 5 years old. With Binge drinking on the rise and stories of alcohol poisoning deaths on college campuses appearing regularly, these figures have probably changed.
In Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the South Pacific, Mexico and South America, the crisis of death by alcohol poisoning is caused more from fake, counterfeit and tainted alcohol, an illicit industry that is growing daily. Headlines throughout the years are indicative of the growing crisis of fake alcohol. 21 Dead in Viet Name, 54 Dead in Estonia, 4 Dead in Ireland, 72 Dead in Russia, are all headlines that scream the death toll from counterfeit alcohol.
Throughout 2017, stories hinting at the worldwide problem of alcohol poisoning from counterfeit and fake alcohol, ranged from 21-Year-Old Blinded in Greece, Mom Dies in Bali, 10,000 bottles of Fake Alcohol confiscated in Mexico, and the list goes on. Alcohol poisoning from counterfeit alcohol can often be considered accidental. Most of the time the victims were unaware that they were drinking fake alcohol.
Consciously Binge Drinking is not accidental. Binge Drinking is on the rise throughout world’s population which will lead to a rise in death by alcohol poisoning. Awareness and Alcohol Rehab are prevention measures that can be taken to stem the tide of deaths by alcohol poisoning.
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