Warning issued about tainted alcohol for Americans traveling to Mexico

Alert issued about potentially tainted alcohol at resort hotels

By Sierra Wangler

DETROIT - A spring break trip or a getaway to Mexico should be relaxing, enjoyable, and most importantly -- stress free. But before you book your trip, the U.S. State Department is sending out a warning.

The alert was sent out to travelers regarding possible tainted or substandard alcohol being served at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.

It was reported that many vacationers became dangerously ill or lost consciousness after consuming only a small amount of alcohol.

In a 2015 report, Mexico's Tax Administration service found 43-percent of alcohol consumed was illegal and produced under unregulated circumstances, resulting in dangerous concoctions. The department says this bootleg liquor could be infused with grain alcohol or dangerous concentrations of methanol.

Just hours after one Wisconsin family traveled to southern Mexico, tragedy struck. Abbey Conner, 20 years old, and her 22-year-old brother Austin were found face down and unresponsive in their resort pool after having a few drinks at the swim up bar. Abbey was pronounced brain dead, later being transported to a Florida hospital where she was pulled off of life support. Austin had a large bump on his head and a severe concussion, unable to remember a majority of the day.

Mexican officials have ruled Abbey's death an "accidental drowning"; however her family and attorney believe the tainted alcohol is to blame.

David Fishman, the president of Cadillac Travel Group, has chaperoned numerous trips to Mexico and believes there are more factors than just possibly tainted alcohol that's leading to these dangerous blackouts -- or worse.

He said dehydration and the possibility of heat stroke can come from drinking excessively out in the warm weather. One quick way to determine whether or not you need to cut back on the alcohol is if you haven't used the restroom all day, or if your urine is very dark. Fishman suggests drinking a glass of water for every mixed drink to allow for your body to remain hydrated. Also, finding a shaded area to relax will allow your body to cool down, preventing any overheating.

In addition to staying out of the sun, Fishman reiterated the commonly known rule to always watch your drink and make sure your alcohol is opened up or poured in front of you to prevent any possible contamination. If you are suspicious, consider drinking from bottled or canned beers.

Fishman said it's all about being aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe and gratifying vacation.

The U.S. State Department encourages people to practice moderation when drinking in Mexico and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.

The department also says U.S. citizens should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico if you are in need while traveling.

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