• It has been nearly a quarter-century since the Russian government's last major effort to slow the population's legendary and self-destructive consumption of alcohol. Now, President Dmitri Medvedev is taking up the crusade. His comments were reported in Time magazine.
At a government meeting earlier this month, President Medvedev said alcoholism has become a "national calamity," with every man, woman and child consuming the equivalent of 4.8 gallons of pure rubbing alcohol per year, according to the National Institute of Health.
"Imagine how many bottles of vodka that comes to," he said. "It takes your breath away."
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