According to reports from the New York Times, the deaths in question can be attributed to a number of factors, but the Mexican government declaring breweries to be a nonessential business in mid-April, combined with parts of the country implementing laws against buying booze, appears to be the cause. In the last few weeks, the reduction in production has caused a national beer shortage, which has lead some people to seek out alternatives.
“It’s possible to begin to speculate that with a smaller supply of regulated alcohol, there’s a larger supply of unregulated alcohol,” said director of the National Commission Against Addictions in Mexico Gady Zabicky Sirot.
More than 20 people in the town of Chiconcuautla have died after drinking a concoction that is considered to be a cheap version of moonshine called “refino” during a Mother’s Day gathering. Nearly 30 people are dead in Jalisco from consuming a drink comparable to rum known as “El Chorrito,” which, according to investigators, contained methanol, which is commonly used as antifreeze. There have been also been 35 deaths reported in Puebla and Morelos while the Mexican state of Yucatan reportedly has at least seven people dead.
The Mexican government stopped allowing the purchase of alcohol in an effort to curb the likelihood of people coming together for large gatherings–but clearly there are some other, serious repurcussions that come along with that.