Police official on government\'s program to fight alcohol abuse

 

The government has drawn up a program to fight alcohol abuse, Aleh Karazey, deputy head of the interior ministry's Law and Order Protection and Prevention Directorate, told reporters in Minsk on December 13.

He said that the program would include an awareness-raising campaign to highlight the aftermath of heavy drinking.

The government currently considers toughening punishment for running illegal distilleries and illegally selling alcohol, according to the official. The possibility of raising the legal drinking age to 21 is also under consideration.

Mr. Karazey called for cracking down on distilleries' practice of bypassing advertising restrictions by making and advertising drinking water bearing the same names as their vodka brands.

Belarus has an annual per capita consumption of pure alcohol of 13.3 liters. The World Health Organization estimates that an alcohol consumption level of more than eight liters per capita is a sign of the country's degradation, the official stressed.

Mr. Karazey announced that alcohol addicts would be offered free therapy as part of a campaign to be held by the government later this month. //BelaPAN