Calls for super-strength spirit ban after teen death

17th November, 2014 by Amy Hopkins

The debate over the commercial availability of super-strength alcohol has been reignited following the death of an Australian teenager who drank shots of 95% abv Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany.

Australian teenager Nicole Bicknell died after drinking shots of 95% abv Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany

Australian teenager Nicole Bicknell died after drinking shots of 95% abv Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany

As reported by Perth Now, Nicole Bicknell, from Perth in Western Australia, collapsed after drinking multiple shots of the rectified Polish spirit on her 18th birthday and died a few hours later.

The publication reports that while an official cause of death has yet to be formally given, Bicknell’s family have said they believe she died after drinking the spirit, since she only consumed a few mixed drinks earlier in the evening.

Bicknell’s mother, grandparents and siblings are now calling for the spirit to be banned in all Australian stores.

“I cannot see why alcohol so strong is sold in liquor stores,” said Bicknell’s grandfather Kevin McLean. “No one needs to buy alcohol that strong.

“It should be taken off the shelves so this doesn’t happen to any other family. Make it an offence to sell it and ban it completely.”

Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany is the world’s strongest commercially-available spirit, however consumers are warned across various retail websites never to drink the spirit neat and instead drink it with a mixer or use it as a base for liqueurs and other infusions.

One 500ml bottle of Spirytus Rektyfikowany is thought to contain the equivalent amount of alcohol in 38 standard drinks.

Both Dan Murphys and Woolworth’s Liquor Group have now removed the spirit from their shelves, however Bicknell’s family are urging other independent retailers in Australia to follow suit and ban all high-strength spirits.

Meanwhile, the Australian Drug Foundation said the tragedy emphasises the need to warnings to be printed on the labels of high strength alcohol.

It is believed that the Australian Medical Association attempted to ban Spirytus Rektyfikowany two years ago due to its ability to damage the liver, brain and heart.

Representatives for the brand have not yet responded to The Spirits Business’ requests for comment.

One Response to “Calls for super-strength spirit ban after teen death”

  1. Hovno says:

    This makes me so sad. Whoever offered her shots of this should be made responsible. I am a diagnosed alcoholic and I know what it means to drink. Giving children such dangerous substances is legal but certain drugs such as MDMA are illegal. It is disgusting. Banning it is ridiculous. It should just not be allowed for children – 18 – 25 year olds. Name and shame the little morons who gave her this drink.

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