Dozens of people were killed because of alcohol poisoning in one of the largest cities in Siberia, Russia's top investigative agency has revealed.

Deaths Due To Consumption Of Lotion Containing Toxic Alcohol

As of late Monday, Dec. 19, 49 were dead after consuming a bath lotion that contains methanol, or methyl alcohol, a highly toxic substance used in antifreeze. The incident happened in Irkutsk, the sixth largest city in Russia.

The committee said that the bottles of lotion came with a warning stating that they are not intended for internal use but people still consumed the contents like alcohol.

The bath lotion was sold in stores for about a dollar per bottle, which is cheaper compared with about $3 for a half-liter bottle of vodka.

Alcohol Poisoning In Russia

Poisonings due to consumption of surrogate alcohol is not new for Russians. It is in fact a regular occurrence in this country. The incident in Irkutsk, however, was among the most fatal in years.

Alcoholism And Alcohol-Related Deaths Among Russians

Russia has an alcohol problem. Data from the World Health Organization that was crunched by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that in 2012, more than 30 percent of all deaths in Russia were due to alcohol. Russian drinkers die in a variety of ways from cirrhosis and alcohol poisoning to accidents as a result of alcohol abuse.

Hard drinking among Russians has cultural roots. A study published in 2013 revealed that Russia has relatively high levels of alcohol-related deaths going back as early as the 19th century.

Alcoholism, however, surged as many turned to alcohol after the fall of the Soviet Union and amid an economic chaos. The cheap price of alcohol also appears to be a factor. In the 1990s the price of vodka plummeted because of stiff competition in the industry and the resulting overproduction.

In a 2014 study, researchers revealed that 25 percent of men in Russia die before reaching the age of 55. In comparison, only 7 percent of men in the UK die before this age. The large difference in the rate of premature death, according to researchers, can be attributed to alcohol and tobacco.

"It is the combination of high overall volume with the specific pattern of episodic binges that is necessary to explain the high level and fluctuating trends of total and alcohol-attributed mortality in Russia," said Jürgen Rehm, from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada.

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