Beware of potentially tainted drinks in Mexico

A Wisconsin woman died after drinking at an all-inclusive resort this year.

The U.S. State Department is warning people who are traveling to Mexico to drink in moderation.

The agency has said this before, since excessive drinking plays a role in a lot of accidents, crimes and deaths of Americans traveling abroad. But this time the warning is a bit different. 

The State Department's website was updated Wednesday to say there have been allegations that drinking "tainted or substandard alcohol" in Mexico has led to people getting sick or blacking out. 

So, if you choose to drink alcohol in Mexico, "it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill," the alert says. 

A Wisconsin woman died after drinking

The new warning comes after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation into the death of 20-year-old Abbey Connor

She was with her family at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico back in January. She and her brother were found unconscious in the hotel pool after taking some shots. He was injured, and she ended up dying (read the whole story here).

Since the paper published a story about Connor's death earlier this month, it's heard from more than three dozen people who said they blacked out or lost consciousness after having only a drink or two at all-inclusive resorts in popular tourist areas of Mexico, like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. 

Both men and women said this, and their ages ranged. Some told the paper they woke up in their rooms or at the hospital with no idea how they got there or how they got hurt. 

CBS News' travel editor Peter Greenberg says this isn't a new issue, but "what you have here is a perfect storm of more than one incident happening to people who don't know each other in different resorts. That is definitely a reason for concern." 

Is it tainted booze? 

The State Department mentions the allegations of tainted alcohol as the culprit in these blackouts, and the Journal Sentinel says an attorney working for the Connor family reported the hotel serving "alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of drinks." 

The paper says government reports have found that 43 percent of all alcohol consumed in Mexico is illegal, and since 2010 the government has seized more than 1.4 million gallons of poor-quality booze – some of which was being served at hotels.

Iberostar, the hotel chain the Connor family stayed at, told the Journal Sentinel it takes the health and safety of guests seriously, and only buys sealed bottles of alcohol that meet government standards. 

If you're in Mexico and get sick after drinking, the State Department told CBS News you should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate right away.

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