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Russia Sees Sharp Decline in Alcohol Poisoning in January

Andrei Makhonin / Vedomosti

In the first month, 2017 Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has recorded the country's first decline in alcohol poisoning in past five years.

"From Jan. 1-29, 2017, 2,218 of poisoning were registered, 441 of which were fatal," a statement on the organization's website read.

"At the same time, from 2012 to 2016 the annual number of alcohol poisoning cases during the period of Jan. 1-29 averaged about 4,100 cases, which led to more than 1,250 fatal results every January."

Based on these figures, Rospotrebnadzor reports that cases of alcohol poisoning in Russia have decreased twofold, while deaths due to alcohol poisoning have declined threefold.

Rospotrebnadzor attributes the decline to the government's adoption of a ban on the sale of non-food products containing alcohol in concentrations higher than 25 percent. The law was initially proposed by the organization in December last year and was extended for two months in January.

According to the consumer watchdog, authorities have seized approximately 500,000 potentially dangerous products, included 2,000 in the past week.

The product ban was a response to a mass poisoning incident which occurred in the Siberian city of Irkutsk last December which led to the deaths of 76 people. The victims had consumed hawthorn berry bath lotion, a common alcohol surrogate in Russia. In response to the crisis, Irkutsk's mayor declared a state of emergency.

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