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Lithuania to introduce new measures to fight excessive use of alcohol

Lithuania to introduce new measures to fight excessive use of alcohol



November 13, 2015

VILNIUS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Lithuanian parliament on Thursday adopted new measures on marking bottles of alcoholic beverages, while the country’s prime minister expressed his support for proposal to introduce mandatory treatment of alcoholism in Lithuania.


According to the amendments of the Law on Alcohol Control, all units of packed alcohol ready for sale in Lithuania will have to be provided with warning graphic labels, explaining that intake of alcohol is harmful for health of pregnant women. The rule will come into force as of November 1, 2016.


Meanwhile, Lithuania’s prime minister Algirdas Butkevicius said he is favour of introducing mandatory treatment of alcoholism in the country.


“I am definitely in favour of such a decision,” the head of government said in an interview with local broadcaster Ziniu Radijas on Thursday.


According to him, some criticize such proposals, however, the decision would be important for families with an alcohol-dependent member.


“These families suffer the most, their children see a bad example,” Butkevicius noted.


In his words, medical workers and lawyers should prepare legal basis for the measure.


“The implementation of the decision should last for about a year; there should be medical findings, family members’ consent, a special facility for treatment, a treatment programme,” Butkevicius said.


Lithuanian Presidency also signaled that mandatory treatment of alcoholism should be considered.


Valdemaras Sarapinas, chief adviser to the president, suggested that alcohol-dependent person in some cases does not realize his problem as alcoholism is classified as a psychiatric condition.


“Maybe there is another way, maybe mandatory treatment should be considered,” Sarapinas was quoted as saying by local media earlier this week.


“There is a provision in a Law on Mental Health Care that in cases when there is a real threat, when the person can harm both himself and people around him, mandatory treatment can be introduced,” the representative of the Presidency added.


The already adopted and debated measures are part of Lithuanian government’s efforts to reduce access to alcohol in the country.


Based on figures from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and World Health Organization from 44 countries, Lithuania reported the highest consumption of alcohol in 2013 at around 14 liters per capita per year.


In the beginning of November, a criminal stabbed to death four women, residents of a small Lithuanian village Kraziai. Soon after being detained, the suspect pleaded guilty to murder charges and told police officers he had been drinking alcohol for a few months before the violence spree.


Earlier this month, members of Lithuanian parliament adopted another provision on the Law on Alcohol Control which bans alcohol sale in the country’s gas stations as of January 1, 2016.


Back in October, Lithuanian interior minister suggested that the country should introduce zero alcohol tolerance for drivers, in order to reduce the number of deadly accidents in Lithuanian roads caused by drivers under influence of alcohol.