Our drinking problem

09 August 2019 | Opinion

Namibia has an alcohol problem. Namibian drinkers, according to the latest global report, take in 70.1 grams of pure alcohol each daily, while they also consume a whopping 32.4 litres of pure alcohol, on average, per person a year. The report projected that by 2020, Namibia’s total alcohol consumption will be 10 litres of pure alcohol per person. It indicated that of the pure alcohol consumed in Namibia 60% is beer, 10% is wine, 13.9% is spirits and 15.6% is other alcohol products. The same report concluded that a number of deaths in the country were caused by alcohol-related traffic accidents, while some perished from cancer and liver cirrhosis attributed to alcohol use. Excessive drinking is also said to be a driver of sexual immorality, giving rise to the spread of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/Aids. We have read torrid stories of child negligence and failure to provide for one’s family, gender violence and absenteeism from work, mostly with alcohol abuse playing a role. In fact, startling figures show that alcohol and substance abuse is a major contributing factor to crime in Namibia. This worrying trend is exacerbated by the fact that some shebeens and bars are given leeway to operate as they wish. The spate of violent crimes, including rape, assault and various forms of abuse, have all been linked to either alcohol or drug abuse. Alcohol abuse has also spiralled out of control due to minimal regulation and this has led to drinking at an early age. This exposure to alcohol is a major cause of concern and something tangible, including coming up with a much tougher policy that will regulate alcohol consumption in the country must be considered given its impact, especially on young Namibians. We have also seen a major trend of people with an alcohol addiction go untreated instead of helping them through intensive rehabilitation programmes. We can no longer continue to ignore this worrying eventuality.

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