Russia’s health minister thinks the country’s legal drinking age should be raised to 21, claiming there had been a spike in alcohol-related deaths during lockdown.
Just say nyet…
After a sluggish start, coronavirus infections are soaring in Russia. According to Fox, “the world’s largest nation geographically surpassed the United Kingdom as having the third-highest number of confirmed diagnoses of the novel pathogen, formally known as COVID-19, behind the United States and Spain.”
In March President Putin declared a ‘National Holiday,” imposing a lockdown throughout the country that continues today.
And that lockdown has led to an increase in alcohol related fatalities.
Responding to the spike in alcohol-related deaths which has soared, Russia’s health minister Mikhail Murashko is urging lawmakers to immediately raise Russia’s legal drinking age from 18 to 21.
And although Russia’s Health Minister did not provide official figures on a rise in alcohol consumption, there is evidence that Russians are buying more alcohol during the lockdown.
Alcohol abuse in Russia, considered one of the heaviest-drinking countries in the world, has been an issue that the government has been trying to address aggressively for more than the last decade.
The World Health Organization (WHO) credits President Putin for initiatives such as “restrictions on alcohol sales & promotion of healthy lifestyles, as well as taxes on wine, beer and spirits for helping curb the country’s drinking epidemic.
Alcohol consumption in Russia had fallen by 43% since 2003, but problem drinking has understandably resurfaced as people were forced to stay in their homes.
According to the Drinks Business, vodka sale in Russia shot up 65% in the last week of March when the lockdown was announced.
This is not the first time Russian politicians have suggested raising the age limit.
Under Vladimir Putin, the government has implemented a number of anti-alcohol policies, including a ban on shops selling any alcohol after 11pm, increases in the minimum retail price of spirits and an advertising blackout.
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