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Textbook on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in the Soviet Union

Sidney Cohen, MD
JAMA. 1986;256(11):1500. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380110106039.
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Efforts to deal with alcoholism in the Soviet Union have been going on for 350 years without much success. It is estimated that each year up to half a million people succumb to alcohol-related disorders, compared with about 100 000 in the United States. Following the Communist revolution, it was confidently asserted that alcoholism was a disease of social decadence and that it would disappear in the new society. It has not done so. At present, another extra effort is under way to try to deal with the problems.

This volume is authorized by the Chief Board for Education Establishments of the USSR Ministry of Public Health as a textbook for medical school students. It makes fascinating reading because it is so different from similar textbooks for American medical students. A few of the interesting differences and surprising statements will be mentioned here.

Practically no data on the epidemiology of


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