The U.S. State Department issued warning to Americans traveling to Mexico after dozens of reports of tourists getting sick from possibly tainted alcohol served at resorts. The U.S. government urged vacationers to avoid excessive alcohol because there are allegations that the liquor served at Mexican resorts could be tainted, substandard or counterfeit. Media attention focused on this potential risk after an American woman died at a Mexican resort.
“There have been allegations that consumption of tainted or substandard alcohol has resulted in illness or blacking out,” the State Department warning says.
“If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.”
The warning comes after a 20-year-old Wisconsin woman died while staying at an all-inclusive hotel near Playa del Carmen, Mexico. In January, Abbey Connor was vacationing in Mexico with her family and was celebrating the completion of final exams. She drank a couple shots of tequila at the swim-up bar with her 22-year-old brother Austin Conner. After four or five shots she blacked out. Later, she was pulled from a pool at an Iberostar resort after passing out from the alcohol and taken to the hospital. Austin passed out, fell and hit his head and was also taken to the local hospital.
Austin was sedated and had a golf-ball sized lump on his forehead. He had suffered a severe concussion. Abbey was in a coma, unresponsive, and on a ventilator. Her collarbone was cracked. Abbey was brain-dead and on January 12, her family took her off of life support. Abbey’s death certificate said her cause of death is “accidental drowning.”
To this day, Austin doesn’t know what was in the shot. He said the shot looked like a Jägerbomb. “I’ve been in college for five years and had my fair share of drinks before,” he said. “No way in hell I’m putting my face down in a pool and going to sleep.”
Austin said they had smoked marijuana before the trip back to Wisconsin, but hadn’t smoked anything once they got to Mexico. He said they didn’t take any relaxants or pills. The blood tests didn’t detect any opioids, cocaine or benzodiazepines typically associated with date-rape drugs. Toxicology reports show his blood-alcohol level was 0.26 and Abbey’s was 0.25, more than three times the limit considered by Wisconsin law to be impaired. At 130 pounds, Abbey would have to drink about seven shots in one hour to have a BAC level that high.
There have been similar incidents of guests becoming impaired from alcohol at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico. There have been more than three dozen incidents involving liquor and odd blackouts reported by vacationers in the last month. Some of the victims were robbed, sexually assaulted, and seriously injured. Many were hospitalized and forced to pay clinics huge sums in cash before getting treatment. So if you are vacationing in Mexico, use precaution when drinking.