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Alcohol, Policy and Politics in Kazakhstan

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Alcohol consumption in post-communist Kazakhstan remains at high levels and episodic heavy drinking, characteristic of the spirits-drinking regions of the former USSR, is still the national drinking style. Reported levels of alcohol-related harm are rising but assessment of trends in levels of consumption and harm is hindered by the disruption to data collection in the post-independence period and the continuing poor availability of public information. There is evidence however that changes in the republic's ethnic profile are connected with a downward trend in overall consumption rates, though changes in lifestyles may be leading to more drinking amongst women and young people. The numbers undergoing treatment for alcohol problems are greater than ever before. Alcohol problems are still perceived as entrenched and non-urgent, but in the present climate of greater stability and prosperity they are beginning to attract more attention from government. Underlying policy trends will depend on the overall direction of Kazakhstan's political and cultural development. This article assesses drinking patterns and related problems in Kazakhstan, and examines government responses and policies. The article is based on documentary research, visits to organisations and interviews.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Middlesex University,

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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