Patrick Barron, Professor of Austrian Economics at the University of Iowa pointed my attention to the following article:
The Chemist’s War: The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences.
Here’s a quote from the article:
Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.
And another quote:
By mid-1927, the new denaturing formulas included some notable poisons—kerosene and brucine (a plant alkaloid closely related to strychnine), gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, and acetone. The Treasury Department also demanded more methyl alcohol be added—up to 10 percent of total product. It was the last that proved most deadly.
Soviet government used exactly the same tactics against its own people and murdered even more citizens. “This was an evil act by our government, done for our own good, of course,” writes professor Barron.
Keep in mind that it was a “Great Humanitarian” Herbert Hoover under whose watch this was done.