Health Ministry suggests raising age limit on booze

New statistics from the Health Ministry suggest Russians have cut their drinking by one-sixth compared with a year ago. Still, officials say stricter legislation is needed to put an end to youth alcoholism.

According to recently released statistics, since the start of the year, the amount of alcohol consumption per capita has gone down from 18 liters to 15 liters.

The ministry, however, has high hopes of achieving an even greater reduction in alcohol consumption.

“The alcohol load per capital is gradually going down,” said Russia’s chief narcologist, Evgeny Brun. “But the situation in Russian villages is still outrageous.”

In order to tackle the issue, it is planned to raise the legal drinking age to 21 years old from 18.

“We need to control the alcohol market,” said Brun. “We should cut down on the places where alcohol can be bought, on the time when it is sold, on the age it is allowed.”

Although there are currently no registered cases of child alcoholism in Russia, there is a large risk group among teenagers who drink alcohol, Brun added.

“This group is quite large – up to 10 percent of all alcoholics,” he said. “It all starts from beer abuse. Teenagers start drinking beer too early.”

There are currently 1.7 million registered cases of alcoholism in Russia, 40 percent of which are women.

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