The consumption of alcohol throughout the world is different in each country, depending upon factors such as legal age, availability of alcohol, religious beliefs, alcoholism, and other restrictions. Therefore, it is important to recognize the differences among these countries and to determine the rates of alcohol consumption as a comparison. For example, the United States and Russia are two vastly different countries in many ways, due to diverse cultures, freedoms, and populations. Therefore, it is not surprising that alcohol is also consumed very differently, thereby creating different perspectives regarding its use and its impact on each population. This is an important reminder of the need to examine the issues related to alcohol use in these countries, given their customs, core values, and beliefs. The result is a vastly different perspective regarding alcohol use and subsequent alcoholism, which is a serious issue in some circles that requires further investigation. Exploring different insights regarding alcohol consumption in the United States and Russia will demonstrate the importance of the substance in different communities, thereby affecting individuals in different ways that may impact families, employers, and society as a whole.
In Russia, alcohol consumption is very high and represents a need to further examine its impact on the population in this vast nation. For example, there are approximately two million alcoholics in Russia, a disease that impacts many men and lowers their life expectancy at significant rates (Learn About Alcoholism, 2015). For the Russian population, vodka is the drink of choice, with persons consuming approximately one-half pint of pure alcohol in any given week; in addition, many young people are consuming alcohol for the first time around the age of 13, which is very young and is alarming for many reasons (Learn About Alcoholism, 2015). Beer sales have also tripled over the past few decades, with national consumption around 12 billion liters, with almost one-third of this number attributed to wine consumption, and 15 percent to vodka consumption (Learn About Alcoholism, 2015).
Most importantly, alcohol consumption in Russia is attributed to a higher death rate of 25 percent for males under the age of 55 (Mazumdar, 2014). This reflects the importance of understanding binge drinking, which is a common practice in Russia, particularly after the fall of Communism (Mazumdar, 2014). Binge drinking is based upon societal standards and behaviors, which requires a more effective set of approaches to improve alcohol regulations and exercise greater control in order to prevent premature deaths that are a result of this practice by developing new policies and procedures that may have an impact on these behaviors within this population (Mazumdar, 2014). The problem is so severe in Russia that alcohol kills one out of every five males within the nation (The Economist, 2011). Therefore, the country faces a significant crisis that must be addressed in a timely manner in order to prevent further deaths from taking place at such high rates and to recognize the impact of potential policies that could positively influence outcomes and need for further analysis of the issue.
In the United States, the consumption of alcohol is higher in some circles or pockets of the population, but it also reflects a need to examine the different areas where consumption is higher and is more prevalent. Within this country, the younger population is often adversely affected by alcohol consumption, as 56.4 percent of those over the age of 18 have consumed alcohol over the past month, and 24.6 percent had participated in binge drinking over the same time period (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2015). This reflects a need to further examine the challenges associated with alcohol use for many younger adults, and those who are also legally under-age drinkers, which is those under the age of 21 years of age. This is an important reminder of the need to explore new insights regarding alcohol use that may have an impact on US policies and regulations regarding alcohol consumption.
In the United States, approximately 16.6 million adults over the age of 18 have some form of alcohol use disorder (AUD), including 10.8 million males and 5.8 million females (NIAAA, 2015). The national average drinker in the United States consumes 11 drinks per week, or 556 drinks per year, but there are many persons who drink at much higher rates and those who drink at much lower rates; therefore, the median alcohol consumption level is actually much lower than this figure (Engber, 2014). This reflects a wide-ranging level of consumption throughout the United States, but unlike in Russia and in many European countries, alcohol consumption in this country is relatively much lower on the average (Engber, 2014). Therefore, although US consumption of alcohol is a concern for many people, it remains less of a problem in some areas due to greater restrictions regarding its use and a different type of lifestyle than in countries such as Russia.
Alcohol consumption throughout the world is highly diverse with respect to the type of persons who drink and the levels that are observed. Therefore, it is important for organizations and individuals to be mindful of the risks associated with alcohol consumption that may have a lasting impact on their health, along with lifestyle habits and level of social interaction. It appears that different factors contribute to alcohol consumption rates in Russia versus the United States, but that there are significant patterns that must be considered, including but not limited to weather, socialization, age, demographics, income, laws and regulations, and other factors that may have a direct influence on how individuals consume alcohol in these countries with vastly different approaches to alcohol use.
- Engber, D. (2014). How “normal” is your drinking? Navigating the alcohol consumption curve.Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/10/how_much_alcohol_do_americans_drink_consumption_predicts_alcoholism_and.html
- Learn About Alcoholism (2015). Alcoholism in Russia. Retrieved from http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/alcoholism-in-russia.html
- Mazumdar, T. (2014). Vodka blamed for high death rates in Russia. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/health-25961063
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2015). Alcohol facts and statistics. Retrieved from http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics