Ministry of Health raises concerns over alcohol poisoning


The Ministry of Health has raised concerns over the grave consequences of alcohol poisoning because of fake spirits during Tet holiday.   
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A doctor treats a poisoning case at Bach Mai Hospital

At a recent conference on preventing alcohol poisoning during Tet Holiday, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said by 2025, 440 million litres of alcohol will be mass produced a year. 

Vietnam has over 328 major alcohol manufacturing facilities producing 360 million litres and 320 small facilities producing over 250 million litres each year. Fake spirits that contain methanol which can cause severe poisoning reactions were still being sold widely, especially during the Lunar New Year. "Alcohol poisoning cases only accounted for 1-2% of the annual food poisoning cases but the fatalities account for 7%. There was a case where several members of a family died after a party," Tien said. 

"Stomach cancer, strokes and even mental illnesses can be caused by alcohol. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 5-6% of the patients are ill because of alcohol and this rate is increasing." Tien said that the Ministry of Health would try to complete the Law on Alcohol Harm Reduction this year. 

Tien also warned the consumers to only use spirits with clear origins and the manufacturers to be responsible so as not to cause any regrettable deaths. 

Police and related agencies were asked to carry out more inspection and publicly named violating facilities. Nguyen Hung Long, vice head of the Vietnam Food Administration, one to seven cases of alcohol poisoning are reported each year. Most of them are herbal medicine or animal-soaked spirits. More importantly, poisoning cases caused by fake spirits with methanol are on the rise. "To prevent mistakes, I proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to use methylene blue indicator to differentiate methanol from other substances," he said. Dr Nguyen Trung Nguyen from Hanoi`s Bach Mai Hospital said methanol poisoning left severe injuries with high fatality rate and cost hundreds of millions of VND to treat. Surviving patients may suffer from brain damage or blurry vision.

Source: VietNamNet

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