Time to rigorously approach the harmful effects of alcohol

2015-06-02 19:32

Raising the legal drinking age to 21 will not be an effective measure for reducing the harmful effects of alcohol abuse.

Raising the drinking age will not reduce consumption amongst young people. It will just make it harder to purchase alcohol and it will just create more criminals amongst the young.

Take for example tobacco smoking. With all the strict measures in place and the evidence of its harmful nature, people of all age groups, including under age youngsters, are still smoking.

Young people will find ways to circumvent the legislation and due to lack of visible law enforcement, unscrupulous businesses will still sell to the under 21.

Although it is a step in the right direction there is very little that legislation can do to change social and individual attitudes to alcohol, which is the root cause of most of South Africa’s and the world’s social ills, road accidents and other human problems. We need to find alternative ways of shaping people’s minds towards unsavoury drinking habits.

I believe the most practical solution to this problem is education and abstinence. The focus must be to guide the youth to be responsible for the safety and health of their own lives and that of others. In this regard parental supervision and guidance is extremely important.

Increasing the age is just shifting problem. What we really need to do is to educate all about the harms of alcohol drinking. We need to change people’s outlook and attitude towards alcohol.

It is time to rigorously approach the harmful effects of all types of intoxicants, a couple of which are alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol consumption and abuse is not only harmful for the individual but for people around him or her. Its harmful effects are far and wide reaching. It impacts on almost every facet of life. It affects loved ones, family structure, neighbours, society in general and it also harms production and the economy.

It is time to rigorously approach the harmful effects of alcohol and other intoxicants like drugs.

We need to engage with all stakeholders, learning institutions, law enforcement units, health care providers, industry and relevant government departments to bring about a national shift that encourages abstinence or at least a more responsible attitude towards alcohol consumption. By working together, we can reduce the harmful effects of alcohol.

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