Alcohol-related deaths put at 700 last year ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Last year, around 700 people died directly due to alcohol abuse, with the National Institute for Health Development saying limiting access is the key to decreasing consumption.

Marje Josing, the head of the institute, said that consumption has decreased since its peak in 2007, but is still too high.

"The problem lies in the damage. If we add up how many people died directly through alcohol last year, either through some alcohol-related illness, drowning, fire or traffic accident, then it comes to around 700 in Estonia last year," she said, adding that a great number of men in their prime age are the casualties.

“Last year, nearly 14,000 people turned to doctors with alcohol-related health problems,” Kati Karelson, a senior adviser at the Institute said, adding that the cost to the Health Insurance Fund was 3.5 million euros.

Josing said the state should think about increasing the excise duty on alcohol. Commenting on Tallinn's drive to limit alcohol sales, Josing said that Estonia is so small and connected that tackling the problem in one region at a time will not work. Rather, the restrictions should be the result of a wider agreement in society.