Staunton, October 15 – The Russian health ministry reports that the number of Russians from alcoholism has declined while the number of Russians dying from alcohol poisoning has gone up, an apparent impossibility that is nonetheless real and that highlights something Moscow generally is at pains to deny.
The Clearly Understood telegram channel reports this apparent “contradiction” and then explains it is not only nothing of the kind but that it reflects a more serious problem involving Russian use of alcohol, the tendency of Russians to consume dangerous surrogates when alcohol prices rise and incomes fall (https://t.me/ya_pon/1889 and svpressa.ru/economy/article/246500/).
Over the last decade, the telegram channel notes, Russians really have begun to drink less as the ministry is all too pleased to report and “as a result, they die less often from illnesses connected with alcohol. However, while that is true, citizens have begun to drink ‘synthetics’ and ‘fake’ alcohol more often, the sue of which leads not to illnesses but to quick deaths.”
In the first eight months of 2019, the ministry acknowledges, some 6,000 Russians died from “alcohol” poisoning, a 14 percent jump compared to the same period a year earlier. This is a trend that reflects the shift from registered alcohol products that might lead to alcoholism to surrogates like perfumes or house cleaners that often lead to death.
The Russian health authorities have the right to be proud of the declining consumption of alcohol, but they are now being forced to admit that at least some of that reflects the fact that Russians can’t afford to become long-term alcoholics and instead are consuming things that often lead to their even more premature deaths.