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Move Over Meth, Czech Moonshine Is Real Problem

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A couple days ago Marc Herman told us that while Europe doesn’t have the meth habit the United States has, if it had a capital of crank, that would be the Czech Republic. As hmunkey commented on Herman’s piece, “Everytime we get news in France about meth, it's always sourced back to the CR.”

Still, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction rates cannabis, both in bud form and as hashish, as the Czech’s drug of choice, followed by ecstasy and then meth. But the poor-man’s party chemical that has the Czechs most alarmed right now is alcohol—or rather, poorly made moonshine.

Prague has banned sales of hard liquor by licensed street vendors after the 19th death in Central Europe (16 in the Czech Republic) from bootleg rum or vodka in the last week. The bad hooch was laced with methanol, which is added to make the cheap stuff have more brain-cell-killing oomph.

"People with the lowest income are looking for the cheapest alcohol and are ready to accept unknown origins," the executive director of a spirits producers lobby told the Associated Press. It's estimated about a fifth of the spirits sold in the land of pilsner is bootleg.

According to the monitoring center, 55 people in the Czech Republic died from illicit drugs in 2010, 18 of those deaths linked to meth. Meanwhile, Russia remains the league-leader for deaths from bootleg booze, although many countries report problems now and then.