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Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2019 Nov 21;14(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s13011-019-0234-1.

Perception of alcohol policies by consumers of unrecorded alcohol - an exploratory qualitative interview study with patients of alcohol treatment facilities in Russia.

Neufeld M1,2,3, Wittchen HU4, Ross LE5,6,7, Ferreira-Borges C8, Rehm J4,5,6,7,9,10,11.

Author information

1
Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, TU Dresden, Chemnitzer Str. 46, 01187, Dresden, Germany. neufeld.maria@gmail.com.
2
WHO European Office for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, Moscow, Leontyevsky Pereulok 9, Moscow, Russian Federation, 125009. neufeld.maria@gmail.com.
3
Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 33 Russell Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 2S1, Canada. neufeld.maria@gmail.com.
4
Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, TU Dresden, Chemnitzer Str. 46, 01187, Dresden, Germany.
5
Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 33 Russell Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 2S1, Canada.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 250 College Street, 8th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5T 1R8, Canada.
7
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 155 College Street, 6th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5T 3M7, Canada.
8
WHO European Office for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, Moscow, Leontyevsky Pereulok 9, Moscow, Russian Federation, 125009.
9
Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, CAMH, 250 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 1R8, Canada.
10
Institute of Medical Science (IMS), University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, 1 King's College Circle, Room 2374, Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8, Canada.
11
Department of International Health Projects, Institute for Leadership and Health Management, I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Trubetskaya str., 8, b. 2, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119992.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Over the last decade Russia has introduced various policy measures to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm at the population level. Several of these policies, such as higher pricing and taxation or restrictions of availability, may not work in the case of unrecorded alcohol consumption; they may encourage consumers to switch to unrecorded alcohol and even increase consumption. In the present qualitative interview study we explore the perception of the recently implemented alcohol policies by patients diagnosed with alcohol dependence in two Russian cities in the years 2013-2014 and shed light on possible entry-points to prevention.

METHODS:

Semi-structured in-depth expert interviews were conducted with 25 patients of state-run drug and alcohol treatment centers in two Russian cities in 2013 and 2014. The interviews were analyzed using thematic content analysis.

RESULTS:

All of the interviewed participants have consumed unrecorded at some point with the majority being regular consumers, mostly switching between recorded and unrecorded alcohol depending on the situation, as predominantly defined by available money and available sources of alcohol. Low price and high availability were reported as the main reasons for unrecorded consumption. Participants voiced a general mistrust of the recently implemented alcohol regulations and viewed them largely as ineffective. They expressed particular concerns over price increases and restriction of night sales of alcoholic beverages. Substantial shifts within the unrecorded alcohol market were reported, with a decreasing availability of home-made beverages in favor of alcohol surrogates in the form of non-beverage alcohol, medicinal and cosmetic compounds. At the same time consumption of home-made alcoholic beverages was seen as a strategy to avoid counterfeit alcohol, which was frequently reported for retail sale.

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite the alcohol policy changes in the last years in Russia, consumption of unrecorded alcohol remained common for people with alcohol dependence. Reduction of availability of unrecorded alcohol, first and foremost in the form of cheap surrogates, is urgently needed to reduce alcohol-related harm. Implementation of screening and brief interventions for excessive alcohol consumption in various contexts such as primary healthcare settings, trauma treatment services or the workplace could be another important measure targeting consumers of unrecorded alcohol.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol availability; Alcohol policy; Alcohol taxation; Alcohol use disorders; Qualitative interviews; Russia; Surrogate alcohol; Unrecorded alcohol

PMID:
31752926
DOI:
10.1186/s13011-019-0234-1
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