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Monday, 18 March, 2002, 13:35 GMT
Big rise in Russian alcohol abuse

The Health Ministry in Russia has announced alarming figures about the extent of alcohol abuse and its impact on the population.

The Deputy Health Minister, Gennady Onishchenko, quoted by the Interfax news agency, said 47,000 people died last year from alcohol poisoning after drinking poor quality products, a big increase on the preceding year.

Alcohol was also responsible for some 40% of all serious diseases.

Home-distilled vodka and other spirits are blamed for the high incidence of alcohol poisoning, and Russia's severe drink problem is said to be behind high rates of heart disease, road and workplace accidents, and drownings.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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