Australian travellers warned about drink dangers

Australian travellers warned about drink dangers

Australian travellers warned about drink dangers

Updated 4 January 2013, 18:21 AEDT

Australians travelling to Indonesia are being warned there is a real risk of methanol poisoning from alcoholic drinks. A Perth teenager is fighting for his life in hospital after being flown home from Indonesia with suspected methanol poisoning.

Australians travelling to Indonesia are being warned there is a real risk of methanol poisoning from alcoholic drinks.

A Perth teenager is fighting for his life in hospital after being flown home from Indonesia with suspected methanol poisoning.

Liam Davies, 19, was celebrating the new year on Lombok near Bali when he became ill after drinking an alcoholic beverage.

The chairman of the WA-based Indonesia Institute, Ross Taylor, says some alcoholic drinks, including Arak, are made in Indonesia with chemicals including the deadly methanol.

"People need to exercise great caution because more and more of this methanol-based Arak is making its way into the market because there's very big money in it and it's very profitable for some very unscrupulous operators," he said.

Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Michael Gannon has described the teenager's situation as very sad, but adds that people must realise health standards are not the same in other parts of the world.

"It's difficult to know whether these drinks are being deliberately spiked or there's just unprofessionalism in the distillation process and the methanol's not being filtered out," he said.

"I think the best thing for people to do is acknowledge that these type of things might happen in places like Bali and Lombok and to treat these places differently.

"Travel to Indonesia has become an extension of normal life for many in Western Australia, and perhaps they just need to be a little bit more careful in everything they do."

Last year prominent Perth rugby player Michael Denton died in Bali and an autopsy found his cause of death to be methanol poisoning.