A total of 936 people died as a result of injuries in Estonia in 2014, which averaged 71.2 people per 100,000 — more than twice the EU-wide average — and a significant number of injury-related deaths involved alcohol.
The biggest causes of injury-related deaths in Estonia were suicide (approximately 25 percent) and poisoning (approximately 25 percent), the majority of the latter of which were cases of alcohol or narcotics poisoning; falls and motor vehicle accidents accounted for another 10 percent of fatal injuries each. In nearly half of all deaths related to falls, freezing, suicide, drowning, and fires, the victim was intoxicated.
“All injury-related deaths are preventable,” said Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski. “Unfortunately, we are still seeing that a large percentage of injury-related deaths and illnesses are connected to the overconsumption of alcohol. Such a small country and people cannot afford such a situation and we as a society should forcefully intervene in order to save lives. The ability to curtail injury-related illnesses and deaths depends on whether we can curb the overconsumption of alcohol.”
According to the minister, the state is developing a number of preventive measures. “First of all, we must implement the actions outlined in the Green Paper on Alcohol Policy with which the state plans to reduce the availability of alcohol as well as restrict alcohol advertisement,” specified Ossinovski. “We must also develop support services meant for individuals with alcohol use disorders, implement a ban on alcohol sales to intoxicated people, and support alcohol policy on the local government level.”
The state also plans to engage in suicide prevention in all age groups. A study is planned for this year which will focus on causes for suicide; this study will form the basis on which further activities are planned. Another critical goal is the improvement of the ability of family doctors, carers, nurses, and social workers to detect depression and suicidal ideation in all age groups.
It will also be important to improve the first-aid knowledge and skills of the general population, as well as make information regarding injury prevention available to everyone.
“Earlier detection and intervention can help reduce injury-related harm,” added the minister.
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik