Alcohol kills half of Russians in their prime

30 June, 2009

Alcohol addiction accounts for more than half of all deaths among 15 to 54 year old Russians, according to a study published in general medical journal The Lancet.

The report said that three quarters of deaths among men and half of deaths among women aged 15-54 were caused by alcohol abuse.

The report reads: “Alcohol-attributable mortality varies by year; in several recent years, alcohol was a cause of more than half of all Russian deaths at ages 15—54 years. Alcohol accounts for most of the large fluctuations in Russian mortality, and alcohol and tobacco account for the large difference in adult mortality between Russia and western Europe.”

The three main causes of death were accidents and violence, alcohol poisoning and heart diesease. The report concluded that alcohol-associated excesses accounted for 52% of all study deaths at ages 15—54 years.

The study analysed deaths in three Russian industrial cities – Tomsk, Barnaul and Biysk - with ‘typical 1990s mortality patterns’. The addresses of 60 416 residents who had died at ages 15—74 years in 1990—2001 were visited in 2001—05. Family members were present for 50 066 decedents; for 48 557 (97%), the family gave proxy information on the decedents' past alcohol use and on potentially confounding factors.