Friday, January 15, 2010

Russia Turns Up The Heat On Campaign To End Country's Rampant Alcoholism

United Press International

Russia, calling it a national disaster, has opened a campaign against alcohol abuse, the government said on its official Web site.

In a plan approved by Prime Minister Vladamir Putin, the aim is to cut consumption of alcohol in half by 2020 and attack illegal production and sales through criminal prosecution, officials say.

Authorities also are considering drastic cuts and possibly a total ban on alcohol advertising, especially ads that target young people, the RIA Novosti news agency said. The health ministry was reported to be mulling a ban on movie scenes involving alcohol.

Official statistics in Russia show more than 23,000 people die of alcohol poisoning annually.

The World Health Organization, in a report, said men in Russia have an average life expectancy of just 60 years, well below that of Western European countries where men have an average life span of 77.

Alcohol consumption per capita is currently about 18 liters, nearly 5 gallons, a year, double the normal amount as set by WHO. Clearly, Russian chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous have their hands full.

The report said further that much of the alcohol consumed was either homemade or non-beverage alcohols, such as perfume.

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