Alcohol puts our future in danger

2017-03-15 06:02

Alcohol abuse is so prevalent these days.

It has become somewhat of a social status to drink.

In the past, it was a shame to drink in public.

The abuse of alcohol makes a you do things you would not normally do when sober, such as acts of public indecency and general bad behaviour.

Alcohol takes away your conscience and inhibitions.

More often than not, you are so ashamed the day after that you go and drink more so that you can face those that you wronged.

This is a flimsy excuse and is not the solution.

Many people binge drink over the weekends.

But when you cannot get through a weekend without drinking yourself into a stupor, you are actually an alcoholic.

It becomes such a lifestyle that many women continue to drink even when they are pregnant.

It could be that they are not aware of the dangers, or sometimes they are not aware that they are pregnant.

But sometimes, they just do not care.

When pregnant women abuse alcohol, it often results in foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

This condition occurs when a baby is born with varied mental and physical defects due to the mother consuming alcohol during pregnancy.

It impairs the mental development of the baby.

In South Africa, it is ­estimated that 14 out of every 1 000 babies have FAS.

This is the highest in the world.

FAS is the leading cause of mental retardation in South Africa.

In De Aar in the Northern Cape, at one stage the ratio was 85/1 000 babies suffering from FAS.

Every weekend people come together and have parties or go to taverns.

If you do not join, then you become an outcast.

In the past, it was believed that the “dop system” – where farm labourers were paid part of their wages in cheap wine – was the main cause.

The dop system was outlawed in 1920, although it continued until 1994.

However, FAS is also found in urban areas, showing that the system is not wholly responsible.

Almost 75% of the pregnancies in South Africa are unplanned, occurring due to unsafe sex when one or both partners are drunk.

Our young girls have blessers or sugar daddies due to the socio-economic circumstances they find themselves in.

Maybe poverty and the high unemployment rate also contributes to FAS.

This being said, even women who are educated and employed consume alcohol during pregnancy.

It could be a mistaken belief that drinking in mode-ration will not affect the baby, or they simply believe weekends will become boring if they cannot drink.

Whatever the reason, this must stop.

We are giving birth to mentally impaired children with a bleak future simply because we cannot abstain from alcohol for a few months.

What a shame.

  • Express welcomes ­anyone interested to contribute to the weekly column. There is no payment for writers.

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