A woman from Puurs in Antwerp province has died after drinking one mouthful of red wine.
The woman was rushed to hospital where it was discovered the wine had been adulterated with the drugs MDMA and MDA in liquid form. The bottles had been tampered with by drug smugglers.
The incident took place at the end of last year, but the prosecutor’s office has waited until now to warn the public.
“According to a witness who was present at the time, the victim took one mouthful and then emptied out the bottle because the wine tasted bad,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor said.
Shortly after, the 41-year-old woman lost consciousness, and the witness called the emergency services. The woman was taken to hospital, but died five days later.
A post-mortem examination found high levels of MDMA and MDA in her blood. It was concluded the drugs had been present in the wine, as there was no indication the woman had ever used drugs.
MDMA is better known as ecstasy, a psychoactive drug used recreationally. It can cause a rapid heartbeat, and has caused death by overheating and dehydration.
MDA is another member of the amphetamine family, and causes euphoria and hallucinations. It is little used recreationally, but is sometimes found as an adulterant of illegal MDMA.
Since the drugs were in the wine as a method of smuggling, it would not be possible to determine the dose contained in one mouthful. Logically, however, the concentration would be high. In liquid form, in addition, the drug would probably act more rapidly.
The wine in question has been identified as Red Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 of the brand Black & Bianco. The bottle that was adulterated did not have the black cork used by the brand, but another cork.
No other examples have yet been found, and the authorities have issued a warning to the public to look out for bottles of the wine whose corks have been replaced.
“Anyone who has such a bottle in their possession where the original cork and foil may have been manipulated is urgently requested not to open the bottle, and to notify police on 03/293 22 32,” the prosecutor’s office warned.
Anyone who may have information on the origin of the bottle concerned should also contact police.
The Brussels Times