Alcohol is one of the most abused substances around the world, if not the most abused substance. However, there are several surprising statistics about worldwide alcohol consumption and production. An article by David Sessions of The Daily Beast highlights the fact that almost half of the world’s population has never consumed alcohol, including more than 50% of women worldwide. Sessions also provided another surprising statistic; almost 30% of all alcohol in the world is produced by unofficial channels. While the majority of alcohol in the U.S. is taxed and produced by legitimate means, that isn’t typically the case in other parts of the world.
Alcohol was one of the earliest mood altering substances created, with people across the world using different fruits, grains and even vegetables to produce their own alcohol. However, the demand for cheap and readily available liquor has created a market for unregulated production, some of which leads to tainted or toxic liquor. While tainted alcohol is not a major problem in the USA, it is in other countries and even factors into the deaths of many people. Dmitry Solovyou wrote an article for Reuters highlighting many troubling statistics about alcohol abuse in Russia. The article cites a study which estimates 5 million Russians are alcoholics, often fueled by cheap vodka which can cost under $3 dollars in U.S. currency. Illicit alcohol is estimated to account for almost 50% of consumption in Russia, a fact often overlooked by corrupt officials. The article also cites other studies which estimates up to 40% of Russian men are heavy drinkers and 30,000 people die each year from some type of alcohol poisoning.
News of deaths due to toxic alcohol is a common occurrence in some developing countries and an October 21st an article on the BBC’s website chronicled the deaths in India’s northern state. The article gives details of 42 deaths, which were reported since the article was written. Many more deaths may have been attributed to the toxic liquor, but some families chose to cremate their love ones without informing the police or medical professionals of the circumstances of their deaths. Many people often turn to illegally brewed liquor as a cheap alternative to other brands and they can often cost as little as 10 rupees in India which is the equivalent of 20 U.S. cents.
The U.S. is saturated with legally produced alcohol, with some relatively cheap brands. However in some developing countries and in the case of Russia (an industrialized country) illegally produced alcohol finds a market due to its cheap price while flying under the radar of the local government. Illegal alcohol produced in the USA is usually called moonshine and it’s not seen in a hazardous light by those who brew it. Tainted or toxic alcohol is a very serious problem. If you or someone you love is dealing with an alcohol addiction, please call us at Inspirations for Youth and Families.