Approaches to the Assessment of Alcohol-Related Losses in the Russian Population
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Until recently, the level of alcohol-related losses in Russia was assessed using mortality from accidental poisoning by alcohol. Our study shows that currently the alcohol-related losses in Russia are determined primarily by degenerative diseases of alcoholic etiology. We show that partitioning of alcohol-related deaths into poisoning and somatic pathology (causes due to degenerative diseases related to alcohol abuse) provides important insights into the patterns of alcohol-related mortality. In particular, it shows that the use of accidental alcohol poisoning alone as an indicator of alcohol-related mortality leads to a significant underreporting of alcohol-related losses in Russia during the first decade of the twenty-first century.
The study of alcohol-related mortality in the Russian regions revealed areas of high risk for alcohol deaths and regions where deaths from alcohol poisoning or from somatic pathologies of alcoholic etiology are systematically underreported. Furthermore, the regional analysis provided us with an opportunity to assess how complete are the official statistics of alcohol-related losses in the Russian population. The existing legal framework in Russia and current diagnostic practices allow regional administrations to underreport socially significant losses including losses related to alcohol. There is no doubt that the establishment of uniform country-wide standards for reporting alcohol-related mortality will lead to a substantial increase in the scale of losses caused by alcohol. These measures are a necessary first step for developing effective programmes for the reduction of alcoholism in Russia.
KeywordsRussia Alcohol Cause of death Regional differences Gender differences
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