Russian Water: Death Guaranteed

by Kiss on February 18, 2014 - 11:19pm

Earlier this month, I posted an article about Jean-Sebastien Chouinard who advocates against the consumption of alcohol especially that of underage teens. The dangers of heavy alcohol consumption are real and there is no better example than the new social hit of the Neknomination. The word is composed of the Australian slang Neck (chug alcohol) and nomination. Very simple rules drink as much alcohol in one go and nominate three people to do the same. Looks may be deceiving for this seemingly “innocent game” which already caused five deaths worldwide from alcohol abuse. As such, Chouinards initiative “Les 28 jours les plus longs de ta vie” is essential to teach teens that alcohol is unnecessary in order to have fun. As alarming as it sound Quebec’s alcohol problem is relatively easy to correct at the stage that it is right now as other regions of the world are far worse.

            Russia is such a region, its stereotype known for its heavy consumers of Vodka. Let’s face it: it’s not far from the truth that vodka, not blood, runs in the veins of some men. A recent study revealed exactly that on Russian male consumption of alcohol over 11 years (1999-2010). The results are staggering: 35 percent of the men studied, who drank more than 1.5L of vodka per week, died before the age of 55. It’s no wonder that the male life expectancy is about 64 in Russia, one of the lowest for the developed countries. This is where the report from Frontiers in Physiology. May 2012, Vol. 3 explains the risk of drinking strong liquor on the liver. As mentioned in the report alcohol abuse is the cause for more than 60 known health problems. Although there are no safe operations available to save lives the health ministry in Russia could use these sources to actually do prevention. As Jean-Sebastien Chouinard deduced it correctly any good habit is easier to teach the younger generation. Alcohol is a plague haunting Russia since the past 300 or so years but by combining the research from the Frontiers in Physiology and by taking an example from local initiatives resembling that of Chouinard it may be possible for Russia to resolve numerous other social problems.

              Sociology is the field that studies human social behaviour and interactions. The social problems caused by alcohol are thus known for anyone who has at least started to study in the field. Increase in violent crime rates and domestic violence increase when society as a whole has a severe problem with alcohol abuse. Thus local initiatives are as important as government initiatives to bring awareness to the community.

            Let’s all take an example from the Russians with alcohol problems and be aware that moderation is key to everything. If possible complete abstinence would be ideal but let’s face it: alcohol is a social norm that in certain occasions would be inappropriate not to consume.




This issue in particular plays out every week in my town. It will come as little surprise that my town is actually a college town, and the underage alcohol consumption rate is probably higher than average. In a place where drinking games and partying are common practice it is not uncommon to hear stories of students being transported to local hospitals on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and even Sunday nights because of alcohol poisoning. You mention that the consumption of alcohol may be unavoidable in certain social situations, and I could not agree more. I feel that college epitomizes this social norm of drinking, but unfortunately, like you stated, it is often not in moderation. I feel this post brings to light an important issue that our society faces and it is evident, as proven by your post, that this issue occurs worldwide. I agree that alcohol can play a large role in increasing violent crimes rates as well as domestic violence for a society, and believe it requires society as a whole to resolve this issue. Thank you for the interesting and thought provoking post!

While I do agree wholeheartedly that binge drinking and alcoholism is a huge problem in Russia, and many other places as well, I disagree with your final statement about being alcohol free. I believe that telling people they cannot do something will just encourage them to do the exact thing, in secret, and in large amounts. I believe in places such as Italy, where it is accustomed for young adults and older to have a glass of wine with dinner is the best way to handle alcohol situations. Introducing young people to something and teaching them that it is okay to have in moderation is okay is the best way to help stop the binge drinking fad. Like we saw in the 1920's in the US during prohibition, it only increased the amount of sneakiness and the thrill of drinking throughout the nation. Not only would people go out to a bar to have a good time, but because they could only do so sparsely at speakeasies I believe they would drink in much heavier amounts. Not to mention, more with wine than liquor, but studies have shown that a glass of red wine once in a while is actually beneficial to a person's health. Overall, while I am not downsizing problems of binge drinking and alcoholism, I also think that approaching the situation in such a rational matter as such you stated may actually cause more problems than we would hope to solve.