Drug and alcohol experts are calling for more public education about the risks of home-distilled alcohol, after the deaths of two men on Tasmania's east coast this week.

Police are waiting on toxicology tests to determine if the 54 and 49 year old men who died in the St Helens area this week were poisoned by home distilled alcohol.

They have issued a public health warning about the dangers of drinking home-made spirits, which can contain toxic levels of methanol.

Sarah Charleton of the drug education and treatment group Holyoake says home distillers should be aware of the potential risks.

"Make sure you know what you're doing, make sure you fully research what you're doing," he said.

Sydney drug clinician Dr Paul Haber says anyone who feels ill after drinking home-brew should seek medical advice.

"Early treatment can be lifesaving," he said.

Distilling spirits at home without a license is illegal, but it is legal to buy distilling equipment.

Inspector John King says police are awaiting tests on the bodies of the two men and to determine the alcohol content of the milky white spirit consumed by about a dozen identified residents in St Helens.

"Our preliminary work has indicated that these two gentlemen did have contact with an address where there was some homemade or some home-brewed spirits and whether they drank those spirits is unconfirmed at this stage but it is forming part of our investigation," he said.

One of the men, aged 54, died on Monday, while a second man, aged 49, died on Wednesday.

One of the men is understood to have collapsed outside a St Helens shopping centre on Wednesday, and the other died at home earlier this week.

The ABC understands one of the men who died was making the spirits out of potato skins and sharing it with a small group of friends for a couple of years.

The alcohol was mixed with a soft drink.

 

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