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Alcohol to blame for half of suicides in Russia — analysts

Russia is among the top ten countries with the highest suicide rates with one in two cases related to alcoholism, professor of the Serbsky Institute’s laboratory of ecological and social problems says

MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Russia’s main forensic psychiatry center — the Serbsky Research Institute — has pieced together the image of a typical suicider: an annoyed drug addict having the face of a martyr and making long pauses while speaking, Professor Boris Polozhy told a news conference on Monday. Polozhy is in charge of the Serbsky Institute’s laboratory of ecological and social problems.

“The risk of attempts to commit suicide in drug addicts is 50 greater than on the average. One in two suicides is alcoholism-related,” Polozhy said. “Russia remains in the top ten countries with the highest suicide rates.”

In Russia, one million people have taken their own lives over the past 20 years. Half of the suiciders had been taking alcohol. Men in Russia commit suicides five times more often than women, in contrast to the world’s average ratio of one to three. Suicides are frequent both among senior citizens and people aged 25-35. The rate of juvenile suicides is very high.

Polozhy said that in ten percent the suiciders had suffered from drug addiction and more than 30% had abused alcohol.

In 75% of lethal suicide attempts the victims had taken alcohol before taking the fatal step. In drinking women the risk of a suicide is 37% higher than in those who do not drink.

Earlier, in September 2014 Polozhy said that suicide rates varied from region to region.

“In the North Caucasus, Southern and Central Federal districts the situation is stable, while in the Siberian and Far Eastern districts there are 30 cases per 100,000 of the population — 1.5 times above the level the World Health Organization regards as critical,” Polozhy said. The worst situations are in Altai, Tyva, and the Chukot and Nenets autonomous districts, where the rate is as high as 60 suicides per 100,000 residents.