Saturday, December 09, 2006

So much for a socialist paradise

Taken from the Toronto Star:

HELSINKI, Finland — Alcohol is now the leading killer of Finnish adults, with consumption reaching an all-time high last year, officials said Friday. More than 2,000 people between the ages of 15 and 64 were killed by alcohol poisoning or illnesses caused by alcohol consumption last year, the government's leading welfare and health agency said. Nearly 1,000 people died in accidents or violent incidents caused by alcohol.

"This is truly a worrying trend," said Kristiina Kuussaari of the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health. "The serious negative effects will continue to grow for years to come." Alcohol was responsible for 17 per cent of all deaths among 15- to 64-year-old men, surpassing heart disease for the first time, the agency said. Alcohol also caused more than 10.5 per cent of all deaths in adult women, alongside breast cancer, for the first time.

Since 2003, the cost of treating alcohol-related illnesses has grown by 14 per cent, peaking at the equivalent of C$1.3 billion last year in the country of 5.2 million.
The government has traditionally kept a tight control on alcohol consumption with high prices in its Alko monopoly retail outlets and supermarkets do not sell beer with higher alcohol content.

However, in March 2004 it slashed alcohol taxes by more than 40 per cent to discourage growing "booze cruises" to Russia and neighbouring Estonia, where alcohol is much cheaper. The move caused an outcry from health officials who warned of negative health effects and police who reported a rise in public drunkenness and anti-social behaviour.
This is what happens when the government meddles in cradle to the grave – people never learn the value of standing their own or taking responsibility for their own behaviour. The Toronto Star makes no reference to it but I would bet money there are Fins crying for the government to step in and do something.

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