Latvia - Alcohol-related harm

Latvia loses nearly 20 thousand years of life and EUR 80 million annually because of problems caused by alcohol: premature deaths, disabilities and all kinds of illnesses, says Marcis Tapencieris, researcher of the Philosophy and Sociology Institute of the University of Latvia.

 

Measures to reduce the availability of strong alcoholic drinks especially apply to the demographics of young people in the country, because alcohol consumption has the largest negative impact on youngsters’ health. It is also the leading cause of death among young people. This includes alcohol overdose and drunk driving. Habitual consumption of alcohol also causes serious health problems, including cancer. (Source: Baltic News Network).

 

Addiction treatment

The most patients treated by the Narcology Centre are insolvent and are usually released after the first day after receiving treatment. According to Astrida Stirna, patients are quickly released because they cannot afford treatment. There is no compensated medicine for adult patients of this kind. This makes their treatment even more difficult.

 

Stirna notes that even if a doctor prescribes medicine, patients often simply cannot afford it. This is often detrimental to the final result of the treatment.

 

Latvian Medical Association mentions circulation of alcohol among schoolchildren as one of the main problems in Latvia. Statistical data shows that 84% of schoolchildren have consumed alcohol at one point or another. On top of that, teenagers often do not have any problems with procuring alcohol. Approximately one-third of schoolchildren have tried alcohol more than 40 times, which points to the problem of alcoholism. (Source: Baltic News Network).

ALCOHOL AND CANCER in Latvia

This information is based on WHO Cancer country profiles 2020. The aim of the WHO Cancer Country Profile is to synthesize the current status of cancer control for each WHO Member States (194 total) as well as by WHO Regions (6 total). These profiles establish an updated country baseline and support monitoring trends toward the achievement of global commitments including Sustainable Development Goal target 3.4 to reduce premature mortality, the Elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem and Global initiative for childhood cancer.

 

Profiles present the burden of cancer: including total number of cases and deaths, leading types of cancer, contribution of select risk factors measured by PAFs (population attributable fraction) and cancer as % of NCD premature deaths.

 

The contribution of a risk factor to a disease or a death is quantified using the population attributable fraction (PAF). PAF is the proportional reduction in population disease or mortality that would occur if exposure to a risk factor were reduced to an alternative ideal exposure scenario (eg. no tobacco use). The term “attributable” has a causal interpretation: PAF is the estimated fraction of all cases that would not have occurred if there had been no exposure.