Russian Alcohol Consumption Falls Steeply

FILES) In this file photo taken on August 26, 2011 a man drinks a beer in a Moscow’s outdoor pub. 
DMITRY KOSTYUKOV / AFP

 

Russia might still have a reputation as a nation of hard drinkers, but a report by the World Health Organization published Tuesday showed alcohol consumption has dropped by 43 percent since 2003.

The WHO put the decrease down to a raft of measures brought in under sport-loving President Vladimir Putin, including restrictions on alcohol sales and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

“The Russian Federation has long been considered one of the heaviest-drinking countries in the world,” the report said, adding that alcohol was a major contributor to a spike in deaths in the 1990s.

“However, in recent years these trends have been reversed.”

The study showed a 43 percent drop in alcohol consumption per capita from 2003 to 2016, driven by a steep decline in the consumption of bootleg booze.

The authors said this trend was a factor in increased life expectancies, which reached a historic peak in 2018, at 78 years for women and 68 years for men.

In the early 1990s, male life expectancy was just 57 years.

Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev led an anti-alcohol campaign with partial prohibition, which brought down consumption from the mid-1980s until 1990.

But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, alcohol consumption exploded, continuing to rise until the start of the 2000s.

Under Putin, Russia has introduced measures including a ban on shops selling any alcohol after 11 pm, increases in the minimum retail price of spirits and an advertising blackout.

Earlier WHO figures showed Russian adults now drink less alcohol on average than their French and German counterparts.

Moscow has also launched a drive against smoking, last week announcing a ban on lighting up even on private balconies.

Tobacco use plummeted by more than a fifth between 2009 and 2016, down to 30 percent of Russians smoking according to the most recent Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

AFP

Indian Toxic Alcohol Death Toll Rises To 143

Indian flag

 

At least 45 more workers have died in northeastern India after drinking toxic liquor, police said Sunday, taking the death toll from the latest mass alcohol poisoning beyond 143.

The deaths in Assam state came less than two weeks after tainted liquor killed around 100 people in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

At least 200 others were still hospitalised across Assam.

“A total of 85 people have died in Golaghat district due to consumption (of toxic alcohol),” Dhiren Hazarika, deputy commissioner of the worst affected region, told AFP.

“Another 100 are undergoing treatment in the district. The rush of new patients has (only) slowed down today afternoon,” he added.

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Roshni Korati, the deputy commissioner of the neighbouring Jorhat district, told AFP that the death toll in the district had reached 58.

At least 160 people were undergoing treatment at local hospitals and “16 of them are critical”, Korati added.

Police said people started falling sick after consuming a batch of illegally produced liquor late Thursday.

The victims, who include many women, worked at local tea estates in the region.

Doctors said those rushed to hospital in a critical condition were suffering from severe vomiting, extreme chest pain and breathlessness.

“A total of ten people have been arrested. We have sent the samples of the liquor… to a forensic laboratory. The report is awaited,” Mukesh Agarwala, additional director general of state police, told AFP on Sunday.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered an inquiry into the deaths.

Apart from the arrests, two excise department officials were suspended for failing to take adequate precautions over the sale of the alcohol.

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma vowed those responsible for the tainted liquor would be brought to justice.

 Methanol 

Hundreds of mainly poor people die each year in India from tainted liquor, which normally costs just a few US cents a bottle.

Cheap, locally made booze is common in rural parts and bootleggers often add methanol — a highly toxic form of alcohol sometimes used as an antifreeze — to their product to increase its strength.

If ingested in large quantities, methanol can cause blindness, liver damage and death.

Many drinkers in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were taken to hospital earlier this month in writhing pain after drinking illicit alcohol.

About 100 people died after consuming the tainted moonshine.

In 2015, more than 100 people died in a Mumbai slum after drinking illegal liquor.

Of the estimated five billion litres of alcohol drunk every year in India, around 40 percent is illegally produced, according to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India.

Many Indian states have implemented or pushed for prohibition, which, according to critics, further increases the unsupervised manufacture and sale of alcohol.

Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, banned alcohol in 2016. But just months after prohibition took effect, 16 people died after consuming toxic liquor.

The entire staff of a local police station in the eastern state were suspended for “dereliction of duty” and failure to stop bootlegging.

AFP

At Least 99 Dead After Consuming Toxic Alcohol In India

 

At least 99 people have died and scores have been hospitalised in northern India after drinking toxic alcohol, triggering a crackdown against bootleggers, officials said Monday. 

News of the deaths in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand has trickled in over the past three days, with police suspecting the moonshine had been cut with methanol.

Cheap, locally-made liquor is common in parts of rural India and bootleggers often add methanol — a highly toxic form of alcohol sometimes used as an anti-freeze — to their product to increase its strength.

If ingested in large quantities, methanol can cause blindness, liver damage and death.

In one district of Uttar Pradesh, 59 people had died after consuming toxic alcohol, police spokesman Shailendra Kumar Sharma told AFP.

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In a neighbouring district, a senior police officer said nine had died, adding that 66 suspected bootleggers had been arrested and samples of the liquor sent to a laboratory for testing.

Police said at least 31 people died in neighbouring Uttarakhand state and that two had been arrested on suspicion of supplying the liquor.

Newspaper reports said around 3,000 people linked with the illegal trade were arrested across Uttar Pradesh in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Hundreds of poor people die every year in India due to alcohol poisoning, mostly from consuming cheap alcohol.

In 2015, more than 100 people died in a Mumbai slum after drinking illegal moonshine.

Of the estimated 5 billion litres of alcohol drunk every year in India, around 40 per cent is illegally produced, according to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India.

AFP

Japanese Pilot Arrested In UK Over Alcohol

Heathrow Airport

 

A Japan Airlines pilot was jailed for 10 months on Thursday after being caught 10 times over the alcohol limit shortly before take-off from London Heathrow Airport.

First officer Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court in west London.

The Japanese co-pilot was arrested at Heathrow on October 28 after failing a breath test 50 minutes before the Japan Airlines flight JL44 to Tokyo was due to take off with him in the cockpit.

“You are an experienced pilot but you had clearly been drinking for a long period up to a time shortly before you were due to go into that plane,” said judge Philip Matthews.

“Most important is the safety of all persons on board that very long-haul flight, potentially 12 hours or more. Their safety was put at risk by your inebriation and drunkenness.

“The prospect of you taking over control of that aircraft is too appalling to contemplate. The potential consequences for those on board was catastrophic.”

The court heard that security noticed he smelled strongly of alcohol, seemed drunk and had “glazed eyes”, while an officer later noticed he had “difficulty standing straight”.

A breath test found he was more than 10 times over the limit with 93 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal flying limit is nine mg.

The Boeing 777 aircraft he was due to fly, which can hold up to 244 passengers, eventually took off 69 minutes late.

Jitsukawa pleaded guilty to the charge of performing an aviation function when his ability was impaired through alcohol. He appeared in court via video-link from Wandsworth Prison in south London.

Jitsukawa’s lawyer Bill Emlyn Jones said the pilot developed sleeplessness and depression through the wear of long-haul travel.

Jitsukawa feels an “abject disgrace” and apologised to the airline, passengers and his family “for the shame he had brought upon them”, the lawyer said.

AFP

Alcohol Responsible For One In 20 Deaths Worldwide – WHO

 

Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year — more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.

The UN health agency’s latest report on alcohol and health pointed out that alcohol causes more than one in 20 deaths globally each year, including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse and a multitude of diseases and disorders.

Men account for more than three quarters of alcohol-related deaths, the nearly 500-page report found.

“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

“It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies,” he added.

Drinking is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.

Alcohol abuse also makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and pneumonia, the report found.

The some three million alcohol-related deaths registered globally in 2016 — the latest available statistics — account for 5.3 percent of all deaths that year.

In comparison, HIV/AIDS was responsible for 1.8 percent of global deaths that year, road injuries for 2.5 percent and violence for 0.8 percent, the study showed.

The latest numbers are lower than those in WHO’s last report on global alcohol consumption, published in 2014.

There are “some positive global trends”, the agency said, pointing to shrinking prevalence of heavy episodic drinking and of alcohol-related deaths since 2010.

But it warned that “the overall burden of disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol is unacceptably high,” especially in Europe and the Americas.

Globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol use disorders, WHO said.

Alcohol abuse affects nearly 15 percent of men and 3.5 percent of women in Europe, and 11.5 percent of men and 5.1 percent of women in the Americas, it pointed out.

Alcohol consumption overall is unevenly distributed around the globe, with well over half of the world’s population over the age of 15 abstaining completely.

 A beer per day

On average, the 2.3 billion people currently considered drinkers — meaning they have drunk alcohol at least once in the past year — consume 33 grammes of pure alcohol per day.

That is roughly equivalent to two glasses of wine, a large bottle of beer or two shots of spirits.

Europe clearly has the highest per capita consumption, which despite a more than 10-percent drop since 2010 still registered a per capita consumption of 10 litres of pure alcohol or more per year.

WHO warned that alcohol consumption is also on the rise in all regions besides Europe, especially in Asia, with China and India registering significant hikes.

The UN health agency urged countries to do more to counter harmful drinking practices and to reach a goal of cutting global consumption by 10 percent between 2010 and 2025.

“We would like to see Member States implement creative solutions that will save lives, such as taxing alcohol and restricting advertising,” Tedros said

AFP

UEFA Lifts Champions League Stadium Alcohol Ban

Leicester Face Atletico Madrid In Champions League Quarter-Finals

 

UEFA’s executive committee has ended an alcohol ban in stadiums on Champions League and Europa League matchdays, a move which supporter associations queued up to welcome Tuesday.

The governing body of the European game amended its safety and security regulations to permit alcohol distribution in competitions it runs, albeit “within the limits permitted under national and local law”.

That means alcoholic beverages can be sold in countries where local regulations allow their sale at sporting venues, such as Germany, although notably not England and France.

Ronan Evain, CEO of Football Supporters Europe, a group bringing together fans from some 40 countries, welcomed the move.

“For a long time football supporters have felt unfairly treated compared with fans of other sports like rugby, to say the least.

“It is not the sport you follow that makes you behave better or worse,” Evain said in a statement.

AFP

FG Begins Implementation Of New Excise Duties On Alcohol, Tobacco

President Buhari’s Democracy Day Address (FULL TEXT)
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Federal Government will today begin the implementation of the new excise duties for alcohol and tobacco.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in March assented to an increase in excise duties for tobacco, beer, wine, and spirits imported permitting a grace period of 90 days for implementation.

This follows after the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun wrote to President Buhari to seek approval of the excise review.

The Minister stated that Adeosun noted that the reviews would be from 2018 to 2020 in order to reduce an expected negative impact on the sector.

According to her, the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse will be reduced.

“The Tariff Technical Committee (TCC) recommended the slight adjustment in the excise duty charges after cautious considerations of the government’s fiscal policy measures for 2018 and the reports of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Technical Assistance Mission on Nigeria’s fiscal policy.

“The effect of the excise duty rates adjustment on trade and investment was also assessed by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and it adopted the recommendations of the TTC.

“Peer country comparisons were also carried out showing Nigeria as being behind the curve in the review of excise duty rates on alcoholic beverages and tobacco.”

The upward review of the rates was carried out in line with new ECOWAS standards and is expected to boost the government’s revenue and discourage abuse of the items.

 

Over 60 Die After Drinking Homemade Alcohol

Indonesian police remove bottles of illegal alcohol from a house in Cicalengka district in West Java province on April 8, 2018. Eleven Indonesians died on April 8 and several others are critically ill after drinking bootleg liquor, police said, days after the death of 24 others from illicit alcohol.
Timur Matahari / AFP

 

More than 60 Indonesians are dead and dozens have been hospitalised from drinking illegal homemade alcohol, authorities said Monday, with the toll steadily climbing.

Police conducted raids in cities across the world’s biggest Muslim majority country to arrest vendors selling the cheap homebrew.

Most Indonesians practice a moderate form of Islam and alcohol is available in big cities.

But high taxes make it expensive so poorly paid workers sometimes turn to potentially dangerous homemade alcohol.

In 2016, 36 people died in Central Java after drinking locally-bought homebrew.

In the latest incidents, the numbers of deaths — including eight in Papua  — has been rising over the past week, with the death toll standing at 62 on Monday, according to police and a hospital in West Java.

Seven people have been arrested for allegedly selling the bootleg alcohol, including a man in West Java who mixed mosquito repellent into his homemade concoction.

“He mixed (pure alcohol) with ginseng, cough medicine and mosquito repellent,” local police chief Agung Budi Maryoto told a press conference Monday.

In another case, a vendor who has been arrested admitted he had mixed pure alcohol with Coca-Cola and an energy drink, police said.

Police said they are chasing other sellers and distributors of homebrew.

“We believe there is a big distributor behind this case,” East Jakarta police chief Tony Surya Putra said at the weekend, referring to the deaths of two dozen people in one part of the capital.

AFP

Alcohol Identified As Key Contributor To Road Accidents

 Alcohol, road accidentRoad Safety 2016 reports say approximately 223 lives, have been lost in Ogun state alone, due to a number of reasons, one of which Data Analyst, Babajide Ogunsanwo identifies as abuse of alcohol by drivers.

It’s been a week of horrible road movement, following the ongoing construction and subsequently a ghastly accident that occurred along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Although rescue efforts were promptly completed by emergency officers such as men of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, (LASEMA), and Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC), commutters have had to suffer long hours in a gridlock in the preceding days.

Data analyst, Babajide ogunsawo, analyzing the road infrastructure and “how we got ourselves here” described the gridlock as “extremely horrible”.

He recalled that five and a half decades ago, Nigeria’s road infrastructure, and the network around the country was 65 thousand kilometres but, “today it’s more than double that amount – population has more than quadrupled”.

Alcohol, road accident
Babajide Ogunsanwo

“At the start of this new millennium, the total estimated vehicles on Nigerian roads was 1.3 million, now its seven times what it was about 16 years ago.

“Population has significantly grown as well as number of vehicles on the roads” he added.

He then stated that a logical solution would be to increase the capacity of the roads, by increasing the number of lanes and improving maintenance of roads.

However, according to him, evidence based on several global studies, shows that when countries increase the capacity of their roads, they get more cars to fill in those roads.

“Hence, we need to realise that even though we have a transportation problem, the transportation solution may not necessarily get us out of the problem.

Mr Ogunsanwo stated that although the government makes plans based on the population figures, what they are not doing right is looking through the same perspective.

He said the Commissioner of Health in Lagos as at 2015, Dr Jide Idris, revealed something that several analysts call the “greatest information in Lagos in the last decade”.

He said although it was not about transportation, it has great significance on our road infrastructure.

According to him, Mr Idris and his team had conducted a survey among bus drivers in Lagos, and it showed that 80% of bus drivers in Lagos, were either on drugs or alcohol.

The information analyst said Lagos state has the biggest economy in the country, as measured by GDP, while also recalling that the FRSC Marshall had on Thursday, stated that road transportation was the most important means that leads people to their various destination.

Analysing all the information, he came to a conclusion that “bus drivers in Lagos indeed are leaders because they are the ones that take a lot of families to their various destination.

“However, if majority of these drivers are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it only means that most of the leaders don’t know where they are going”.

Furthermore, he stated that the National Bureau of Statistics, in their last consumption reports said most Nigerian families spend more on alcohol and entertainment than on education.

Mr Ogunsanwo then posited that when there is road congestion, “we need to connect these dots so we can clearly see where the problem comes from” in order to apply necessary solutions.

FRSC Caution Drivers Against Drunk-driving

frscAs the world celebrate Easter, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has cautioned drivers against drunk-driving during this festive period, as many would travel to see their loved ones .

The FRSC Public Education Officer, Mr Etuk Imoh, gave the caution during their routine check on drivers, to see the level of alcohol in their system.

He told Journalists that the Corps intend to reduce road crashes during the Easter period.

Although there is no accurate statistics of drunk driving related auto crashes in Nigeria, FRSC records show that over 1,000 lives are lost annually to road accident.

The FRSC said it would do all it could to reduce the figure of death toll on road accidents.

According to Mr Etuk Imoh, more road crashes are recorded during festive seasons and they can be attributed partly to drunk-driving.

Apart from the checks conducted by the FRSC, motor park operators say they educate their members against drunk driving, and other habits that could constitute danger on the high-way.

Vaccines That Give Instant Hangover To Alcoholics

Call it a solution to drinking habit, a vaccine mainly for alcoholics whose drinking habit has refused to go away has been developed by a research team from the Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology Department of the University of Chile.

The team led by the director of the Department, Dr. Juan Asenjo said the new vaccine for alcoholics induces a hangover the moment any alcohol is introduced into their system, as naturally alcoholics do not like to experience hangover given the pain and discomfort they experience.

Although, the new vaccine is seen as a way of kicking the habit of alcohol consumption by alcoholics, it could also be better used as an on-going deterrent rather than a way of stopping alcoholics from drinking in the first place because the effects of alcohol withdrawal may be much worse than having a bad hangover.

Hangover is usually caused by the compound acetaldehyde, and it is produced by the liver when dealing with alcohol before it is broken down and metabolised by an enzyme.

The vaccine stops the enzyme doing its job, resulting in the person very quickly feeling sick and uncomfortable, as if they have a hangover. Further drinking will just make the feeling worse or at least prolong it.

Administering the vaccine can be done with a single injection, which is then active for between 6 to 12 months. It won’t be tested on human subjects until November this year, and that’s pending a trial on mice in the coming months to determine the right dose of the vaccine. If successful, the vaccine could be introduced into the market by 2015.

Alcohol withdrawal can be a difficult process to go through depending on how reliant an individual is on it.

Bobby Brown arrested for driving under influence of alcohol

Whitney Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown spent a few hours behind bars Monday after his arrest in connection with Driving Under Influence (DUI), police said.

Brown, 43, was pulled over in Los Angeles’ Reseda neighbourhood about 12:20 p.m., when cops spotted him driving while talking on a cell phone without using a hands-free device, the Los Angeles Times reports. That’s been illegal in California since 2009, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Officers conducted a field sobriety test, which Brown allegedly failed, police said. So what punishments could Brown possibly face for his alleged cell-phone and DUI violations?

That will likely depend on how many DUI arrests appear on Bobby Brown’s record. Monday’s DUI arrest seems to be at least Brown’s second DUI: He was convicted of DUI in Georgia in 1996 and served eight days in jail, gossip website TMZ reports.

But in California, where Brown was arrested, DUI offenses remain on a driver’s record for only 10 years, according to the DMV. So Brown’s DUI conviction in Georgia will not appear on his record, and will likely not be considered in sentencing if he’s convicted.

In California, a driver’s first DUI conviction is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, six months in jail, and a six-month driver license suspension. Subsequent DUI offenses can lead to harsher penalties.

There are a few ways to challenge DUI arrests, such as challenging the accuracy of an alcohol breath test. In Monday’s DUI arrest, Bobby Brown’s breath test allegedly revealed a 0.12% blood-alcohol level, the website Gossip Cop reports. Police likely also took a blood sample for a more accurate test.

As for Brown’s alleged cell phone violation, it appears he’s off the hook for a possible citation. But in general, drivers face a $20 fine for a first cell-phone violation and a $50 fine for subsequent violations.

After Bobby Brown’s DUI arrest, he posted an undisclosed amount of bail and remains free pending a court date.

Brown was in Nigeria earlier this month to participate in a concert dubbed ‘New Edition In Concert’. During the visit the singer thrilled his fans in both Lagos and Port Harcourt. He had said then that he will be willing to collaborate with Nigerian singers on any project he finds interesting.