Should Alcohol be Banned or be more Regulated?

2012-12-27 06:35

I believe alcohol consumption should be banned as it is addictive, destructive and causes many social problems and psychological and physical injury and ailments.

There is concrete evidence that alcohol plays a huge role in motor car accidents which many a times results in serious injury and deaths. In 2011, 1771 people died as a result of 1 316 road accidents that took place between 1 December to 10 January 2012. (News24, Death toll mounts on SA roads, December 22).

In the article: “The social aspects of alcohol misuse/abuse in South Africa”, Motor vehicle crashes in South Africa account for approximately 11 deaths per 100 million kilometres travelled. Traffic crashes that involve pedestrians account for about 40% of annual mortality on the roads in South Africa. Alcohol abuse and poor roads are cited as the main contributing factors. (2010; S Afr J Clin Nutr 23(3) (Supplement 1)).

Every alcohol-related accident is uncalled for and preventable. Although it is the driver’s responsibility to make the right judgment before getting behind the wheel, in many instances this does not happens and results in fatal accidents. Lives are lost, women become widows and children become orphans.

In addition to road accidents alcohol also impacts on the quality of life, relationships, finances, work,  careers and jobs and families and other social problems like teenage pregnancy and violence against women and children.

The annual economic cost of alcohol misuse in South Africa could range between 0.5% and 1.9% of the gross domestic product (GDP). These figures are based on the utilisation of a middle-of-the-range estimate that considers costs associated with treatment, trauma, mortality and crime, which is about 1% of GDP. This translates to about R8.7 billion per year, an amount almost twice exceeding that received in excise duties on alcoholic beverages in the period 2000/01. (Department of Social development. Policy on the Management of Substance Abuse. March 2007:1–2.) . (2010; S Afr J Clin Nutr 23(3) (Supplement 1)).

Furthermore, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2004 there were approximately 2.25 million premature deaths worldwide linked to alcohol. Alcohol is responsible for 4.5% of the global disease burden, even after the protective effects of low and moderate alcohol consumption had been considered. Furthermore, binge drinking (excessive alcohol consumption) is becoming an increasing problem in most countries. Alcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence.

Moreover, a report by Karl Peltzer and Shandir Ramlagan concluded that there is a need to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to curb the misuse of alcohol in South Africa (Parry et al. 2005).

May I ask what benefit drinking alcohol has that justifies its continued intake despite all the never-ending serious medical problems, injury, suffering, pain, loss and damage it causes and aggravates.

Drinking alcohol is detrimental, devastating and harmful and the effects of its consumption are similar to those of cocaine, mandrax and other illegal drugs.

Personally I feel that in an attempt to save lives, for the greater good and for preserving the family unit and humanity, the consumption, production and sale of alcohol must be completely banned.

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