Vice Squad
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Alcohol Poisoning in Russia

Friend of Vice Squad Nikkie informs us of this news
out of Russia
-- seems that a vodka drinking contest was
sponsored by a local food and drink seller in the
southwestern city of Volgodonsk. The winner was to receive
a prize of ten bottles of vodka, but he died of acute alcohol
poisoning. Four other contestants are apparently in very
serious straits at the local hospital.

The extent of fatal alcohol poisoning in Russia is tragic and
inexplicable. In 2002, more than 40,000 people died
from alcohol poisoning in Russia, a rate of 28 per 100,000
people. Typical rates in other countries are on the order of
one-one-hundredth of the Russian rate. Professor Vladimir Treml
of Duke University, an expert on alcohol in Russia, has described
Soviet and post-Soviet rates of fatal alcohol poisoning as "so high
that they do not fit into the range of international experience."
See pages 232-4 of his chapter (chapter 7, "Soviet and Russian
Statistics on Alcohol Consumption and Abuse") in this 1997
from the National Academies of Science.

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