BHOPAL: The closure of liquor vends due to the lockdown for the coronavirus outbreak has made some alcoholics in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh reportedly turn to sanitisers to satisfy their craving, though most officials dismissed it claiming they were unaware of such incidents.
Most sanitisers available in the market have a high content of alcohol but consuming it can cause ethanol poisoning and complications that could lead to coma and death.
"I have come across this trend of alcoholics turning to sanitisers during the lockdown and risking their lives. Recently, I treated an 18-year-old girl who consumed it, though she claimed she had taken it by mistake," said Bhopal- based Siddhanta Red Cross Super Specialty Hospital Director Dr Subodh Varshney.
"Sanitisers being produced by liquor distillers have ethyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, which is a very toxic combination. In fact, there is double the amount of alcohol in them than what is there in a whiskey bottle," he said.
He said three types of sanitisers are being manufactured at the moment, but some people are consuming the ones being made by liquor distillers, as these contain "edible alcohol".
On Saturday, a man identified as Indal Singh Rajput, was held in Sultanpur area of Raisen district in the state for allegedly making liquor from sanitisers to profiteer from the closure of alcohol vends during the lockdown, police had said.
However, queried on the worrying trend, MP Excise Commissioner Rajesh Bahuguna said he was unaware of "sanitiser drinking".
"Sanitisers are not in my domain. People should not be consuming it," he said, and repeated the answer when told that two people in Satara district in neighbouring Maharashtra had died last week after consuming the contents of a hand santiser bottle.
Meanwhile, the Controller of Food and Civil Supplies Jyoti Shah Narwariya said "I don't look after drug affairs", while Deputy Controller (Drugs) Shobit Koshta could not be contacted for comments.
MP Additional Director General of Police (Narcotics) SW Naqvi also said he was unaware of incidents of alcoholics consuming sanitisers to satisfy their urge.