Suicides and alcohol consumption in Russia, 1965-1999

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2003 Aug 20;71(2):161-8. doi: 10.1016/s0376-8716(03)00094-2.


Background: Abrupt changes in the alcohol consumption level and the suicide rate associated with the anti-alcohol campaign of 1985-1991 and the market reforms of 1992.

Methods: Epidemiological investigation of total Russian suicide rate and per capita alcohol consumption utilizing the Box-Jenkins technique and regression analysis.

Results: The decrease of per capita consumption from 14.2 to 10.5 l in 1985-1987 and the growth of this index after 1987 (14.6 l in 1994) saw a respective decline and increase of suicides per litre of alcohol: eight males and one female per 100,000 of the corresponding population (13 or 6% of male or female suicides and 12% total suicides). The maximum suicide rate was reached in 1994 (41.8 per 100,000 population, in 1981-1994 r=0.91). In 1984-1986 and 1991-1994 the distribution of suicides' age was close to that of the age distribution from fatal alcohol poisoning. Changes in the level of BAC-positive suicides are closely correlated with changes in the alcohol consumption level (r=0.98), whereas changes in the number of BAC-negative suicides were not related to changes in consumption.

Conclusion: Alcohol consumption level plays a considerable role in the suicide rate, especially for male suicides. The rate of alcohol-related suicides is very high in Russia, owing to the very high alcohol consumption rate in the country.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Alcohol Drinking / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide / trends