20 Saudis die after drinking poisoned cologne

alcohol still
Photo Credit: StillDrinkin.com

Here's an update to my post What Muslims do when they need a drink:

This is what happened last month:


As many as 20 people have died after drinking poisoned cologne in four cities in Saudi Arabia, the Kuwaiti news agency (KUNA) reports. Quoting the local Okath daily, it said the deaths occurred in Mecca, Taif, Medina and Riyadh and another 40 people were in hospital, some in a critical condition. It is not clear why any of the people affected would have been drinking cologne. Alcohol is banned in staunchly Muslim Saudi Arabia and the victims may have hoped to extract alcohol from the cologne.

But this has happened before:

Arab news, 20 Apr 2006, Thrill-Seekers Find Death Drinking Alcoholic Cologne

JEDDAH, 20 April 2006 — Some young men who want to experiment with alcohol are getting a deadly surprise when they think cologne and perfume bottles that say alcohol on the side are safe to drink.

It happened four years ago, and now it has happened again, claiming the lives of 17 young men around the Kingdom. Those who drank it and sought immediate medical attention now are being treated for blood poisoning; those who drank it and didn’t seek medical help are dead.

Although drinking alcohol in the Kingdom is banned, some young people make the mistake thinking that anything that says alcohol is consumable despite the law. Methyl alcohol is not the substance found in the liquors of Europe and the West. Ethyl alcohol is the substance used in liquors. Methyl alcohol is a deadly poison and is never intended for use as a beverage in any culture.


"This problem started four years ago when a number of university and high school students fell victim to it,” said Dr. Saleh Awad Al-Garni, an expert in Islamic studies. "At that time, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry withdrew all the cologne from the market where ethyl alcohol exceeded 90 percent and methyl alcohol exceeded 50 percent.”


"We were very surprised over the past few weeks that many have died as a result of drinking cologne,” Al-Garni said. "This shows that these people were neither restrained nor were they religious in heart. They were searching for pleasure that only lasts a few minutes. I think part of the problem is the drinking scenes that they see on satellite channels.”

He said it could be an indication of problems at home.

"If they were under parental supervision, such problems could have been detected and treated immediately,” said Al-Garni. "Leaving teens unattended will result in such tragic incidents. Claiming unemployment or poverty are the reasons for it is nonsense. Since when was poverty the road that leads to destruction? Being unemployed does not mean killing ourselves.”

Other experts say it is time to raise the national awareness about these problems.

"How could they die in search of an illusory pleasure?” asked Dr. Abdul Lateef Al-Sabban, a social science consultant at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. "Most likely these young people suffer from personality disorders or are troubled by certain social or family issues. We should not ignore them and work on solving these problems. We should investigate what would drive them to do such things. There will be negative consequences if we ignore this because it could grow to dangerous levels and might reach a point where it will be impossible to stop.”

interested participant says "Experts blame a variety of causes for the behavior of the young men. These include personality disorders, social and family troubles, and satellite television. I don't know, but if I lived in a hot, desert environment, I'd want a cold beer. You could blame it on my... uh... personality disorder... or anything you'd like. And despite flowery-pleasant breath, I'll pass on the foo-foo."

This is what happens to a country without rednecks. The Saudis have half the oil in the world and have no clue how ethyl alcohol is made. For some interesting effects of alcohol use see cathy's miracle place.

This is old but still interesting report on how depressing it is to live in Saudi Arabia:

BBC News, 20 Nov 2001, Saudi's sleazy underworld

Saudi Public Market - No alcohol on sale here
Saudi Public Market -
No alcohol on sale here
His bloodshot eyes stared out from an emaciated face, his teeth were rotten stumps fighting a losing battle to stay attached to their gums. Khaled was not yet 40 years old but he appeared to have given up on life.

Darker side

He was an educated Saudi with good English and years of work experience in America, but he told me he couldn't find a job here in Saudi Arabia. Depressed and bitter, he had turned to home-brewed alcohol and imported hash.

Some of the bombings in Saudi Arabia in are tied to bootlegging:

St. Petersburg Times, 22 jul 2002, Target: Westerners

There is no doubt that the illegal liquor trade is big in Saudi Arabia, a conservative Muslim nation where alcohol is banned. Many foreigners who work in the kingdom make their wine from Danya grape juice, sugar and brewer's yeast -- all readily available in Saudi supermarkets. Others become involved in the risky but highly profitable business of smuggling liquor into the kingdom from Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates.

Briton Paul Moss managed a residential compound for AT&T in Riyadh, but discovered he could make more in a day selling illegal booze than he could in a week at his regular job. By late 2000, he was smuggling in 100 cases at a time of Johnnie Walker scotch, Moet & Chandon champagne and other sought-after labels. Each case contained 12 bottles, and most of them went to rich Saudis.

"Three of the guys I delivered to are princes," Moss said in a phone interview from Australia where he now lives. "These guys are very powerful and have a lot of cash and there wasn't enough (liquor) for them. What would happen -- and it got a bit crazy toward the end -- they'd be phoning me at 3 and 4 in the morning when they were really drunk, hassling me to get more. There was never enough, the 100 cases would last about two weeks."

Iranian teen faces death for drinking
11 January, 2003, 14:36 GMT

A 19-year-old Iranian man has been sentenced to death by hanging for repeatedly drinking alcohol, local newspapers have reported.

The man, identified only as Davoud, had already twice been arrested and whipped for committing the offence.

Under the country's strict Islamic laws, drinking is strictly forbidden, and those caught are usually whipped or heavily fined.

However if caught for a third time an offender can be sentenced to death.

Police arrested the man after he visited a police station to enquire about two of his friends who had also recently been detained.

The authorities noticed he had been drinking and immediately charged, the French news agency AFP reported.

Black market

The judge in the court in Shahre Rey, south of the Iranian capital Tehran, has referred the case to the head of Iran's judiciary, a body controlled by conservatives.

He may decide to commute the sentence, after the teenager admitted his errors and promised to give up his drinking habit.

"I had been punished twice for drinking three glasses of alcohol and I knew what I was drinking was forbidden under Islamic law," a local newspaper quoted Davoud as saying.

Despite alcohol being banned under Iran's strict law codes since the 1979 Islamic revolution, it is readily available on the black market, with authorities regularly seizing large quantities of intoxicating drink.

from BBC

### End of my article ###

Bloggers: For non-commercial use you may repost this article without asking permission - read how.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

View My Stats
qr code