Police in southern Norway have launched an investigation after several people have been hospitalized with potentially fatal methanol poisoning. They suspect those ill imbibed the methanol by drinking illegal spirits, more commonly known as hjemmebrent, or moonshine.
“We believe the cases stem from Mandal (a scenic coastal town that’s popular in the summertime) and that illegal spirits are making the rounds,” Svein Jarle Haugland, acting mayor of the local township from the Christian Democrats party, told state broadcaster NRK. Haugland urged against drinking any spirits or other alcoholic beverages with unclear contents.
Dr Viggo Lutcherat, chief medical officer in Lindesnes, suspects “smuggled spirits” and “at any rate not spirits bought through normal channels, like Vinmonopolet (the state liquor stores) or restaurants. “We have no indications this has been distributed though bars or restaurants,” he told NRK.
Around five people have been hospitalized in Kristiansand. Residents were urged to contact a doctor at the first sign of symptoms including stomach pain, headache, visual disturbances and shortage of breath. Serious cases of methanol poisoning can lead to coma, heart attacks and death.