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Hazardous alcohol drinking in the former Soviet Union: a cross-sectional study of eight


Pomerleau, Joceline; McKee, Martin; Rose, Richard; Haerpfer, Christian W.; Rotman, David; & Tumanov, Sergej (2001). Hazardous alcohol drinking in the former Soviet Union: a cross-sectional study of eight. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 43(3), 351-359.


Hazardous consumption of large quantities of alcohol is a major cause of ill-health in the former Soviet Union (fSU). The objective of this study was to describe episodic heavy drinking and other hazardous drinking behaviors in eight countries of the fSU.

Data from national surveys of adults conducted in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine in 2001 were used (overall sample size 18,428; response rates 71-88%). Heavy episodic drinking, high alcohol intake, drinking alcohol during the working day, and using illegally produced strong spirits were examined.

On average, 23% of men and 2% of women were defined as heavy episodic drinkers (> or = 2 l of beer or > or = 750 g bottle of wine or > or = 200 g strong spirits at least once every 2-3 weeks). This was more common in young males, women who are single or who are divorced/separated/widowed, in smokers, and in frequent alcohol drinkers. About half the respondents who drank strong spirits obtained at least some alcohol from private sources. Among drinkers, 11% of males and 7% of women usually took their first drink before the end of working day.

Heavy episodic alcohol drinking is frequent in males throughout the region--although prevalence rates may have been affected by underreporting--but is still relatively rare in women. Alcohol policies in the region should address hazardous drinking patterns and the common use of illegally produced alcohol.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Alcohol and Alcoholism


Pomerleau, Joceline
McKee, Martin
Rose, Richard
Haerpfer, Christian W.
Rotman, David
Tumanov, Sergej