Journal Article

Impact of alcohol on mortality in Eastern Europe: trends and policy responses [Editorial]

Jasilionis, D., Leon, D. A., Pechholdová, M.
Drug and Alcohol Review, 39:7, 785–789 (2020)
Open Access


Within the global context, Eastern Europe has been repeatedly identified as the area with the highest levels of alcohol-related
health harms. Although the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and the Soviet Union collapsed soon afterwards, alcohol-related mortal-
ity in Eastern Europe remains far higher than in Western Europe. However, despite the high burden of alcohol harm and mor-
tality in Eastern Europe, with the partial exception of Russia, relatively little is known about the country-specific impact of
alcohol on health and mortality and the various policy responses to it. In response to this, an international symposium was
held in Vilnius, Lithuania in June 2017 entitled Persisting burden of alcohol in Central and Eastern Europe: recent evi-
dence and measurement issues. This special section of Drug and Alcohol Review is based on a selection of the papers pres-
ented at this symposium, providing for the first time a broad overview of the problem of alcohol-related mortality in a diverse
range of Eastern European countries linked to a description and analysis of alcohol control initiatives that have been devel-
oped. While there is strong evidence of the influence of history, culture and education across European countries having a pro-
found and persistent effect on differences in drinking patterns and preferences, there is, nevertheless, evidence that effective
policy responses have been mounted in a range of countries.

Keywords: Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, alcoholism, consumption, health policy, mortality
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