The affordability of alcoholic beverages is among the key factors behind the high levels of alcohol consumption in Belarus, Andrey Kapytaw, a departmental head at the National Center of Mental Health, told reporters in Minsk on Monday.
The per-capita alcohol consumption was 12.29 liters at the beginning of 2009, with the figure not including alcohol produced by households, according to the expert.
"The ratio of eight liters per capita is already critical," Dr. Kapytaw said, noting that it had been increasing by one liter annually in the country in the last three or four years.
In the first nine months of this year, as many as 1,418 people were diagnosed with alcoholic psychosis, 11 percent more than in the same period of the previous year.
Dr. Kapytaw said that the actual number of people with alcoholism was higher in Belarus than reported by statisticians. "Some recommend multiplying the number of people on the list of alcoholism patients by a factor of five, four or even seven," he said.
As of October 1, 273,661 people were on the list of Belarus’ substance addiction treatment centers. Of them, 62,489 drug addicts accounted for new cases placed on the register this year.
The expert described the official data on people diagnosed with drug addiction as disastrous. A center will start operating in the country next year to monitor the scale of drug and alcohol abuse, he noted.