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At least 66 people have died in a wave of poisoning from bootleg liquor and substances consumed as alcohol substitutes in a region of Russia's Urals
At least 66 people have died in a wave of poisoning from bootleg liquor and substances consumed as alcohol substitutes in a region of Russia's Urals, and 528 remain in hospital, the consumer rights watchdog said Wednesday. Russia has seen a surge in mass alcohol poisoning cases from bootleg alcohol and alcohol-based chemicals in recent months, and large numbers of fatalities have been registered throughout the country. "A total of 1,091 people have been registered in the Chelyabinsk Region with poisoning by alcohol-based substances, and 66 of the cases have been fatal," a source in the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare said. The source said most of the victims were unemployed, and many were poisoned by consuming medical and hygiene products designed for external use only. Alcoholism and consumption of low-quality liquor have become a major problem in Russia, and is believed to contribute to the low life expectancy in the country. The speaker of the lower house of parliament, Boris Gryzlov, said Tuesday that a total of 17,000 people died in Russia between January and early September from bootleg alcohol poisoning. On Monday, a bootleg alcohol producer was arrested in southern Russia's Saratov Region and may be facing manslaughter charges following a wave of alcohol poisoning in the region, including three deaths. After numerous cases were uncovered where victims appear to have drunk alcohol-based detergents and other lethal chemicals distributed in vodka bottles, Russian officials have begun pushing for a state monopoly on alcohol sales.
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