Objectives. We took advantage of a natural experiment to assess the impact on suicide mortality of a suite of Russian alcohol policies.
Methods. We used autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) interrupted time series techniques to model the effect of the alcohol policy (implemented in January 2006) on monthly male and female suicide counts between January 2000 and December 2010.
Results. Monthly male and female suicide counts declined during the period under study. While the ARIMA analysis showed no impact of the policy on female suicide mortality, the results revealed an immediate and permanent reduction of about 9% in male suicides (Ln ω0=-0.096, p=.01).
Conclusions. In spite of a recent decline in mortality, rates of alcohol consumption and suicide in Russia remain among the highest in the world. Our analysis revealed that the 2006 alcohol policy in Russia led to a 9% reduction in male suicide mortality, meaning the policy was responsible for saving 4000 male lives annually that would otherwise have been lost to suicide. Together with recent similar findings elsewhere, our results suggest an important role for public health interventions, including alcohol policy, in reducing alcohol-related harm.