Alcohol The International Dilemma

The unwarranted use of alcohol is becoming a dilemma on a global scale, resulting in many societal problems affecting all walks of life. In northern Ireland the Chief Medical Officer – Dr Michael McBride has identified the common use of alcohol among the younger generation. In Northern Ireland children as young as 11 are consuming alcohol and by the age of 16 it is believed four out of five teenagers will have had an alcoholic drink of some description. Dr McBride proposes that the reason so many young people turning to drink in Northern Ireland is to enhance their social and sexual confidence and requests better awareness of the harm that alcohol can do.

Unfortunately extreme drinking amongst teenagers is having a harmful impact on communities across Northern Ireland primarily in urban areas. Within 2 years child crime has risen by roughly 20% mainly fueled by alcoholic consumption among children as young as seven. In contrast, burglary, vehicle crime and criminal damage have seen modest rises while alcohol-related offences have shot up by as much as a third.

In Northern Ireland The Garda youth diversion programme has been put in place to reduce this anti social behavior with some positive results. Children suspected of crimes under this system are given the opportunity to redeem themselves by compensating or apologizing to victims. Around 60-70% of the children have not re-offended inside the first year after being accepted into this venture.

Obviously these problems are not limited to Northern Ireland and around the globe countries are taking their own steps to reduce the social impact of alcohol-related incidents.

In recent years millions have been invested on an yearly basis by drink manufacturers in Kenya on measures to combat alcohol abuse, underage drinking and drink driving. Purchases of alcoholic beverages have soared and these companies have invested a lot in projects to try and reduce the sometimes negative effect. Advertising, warnings on bottle labels and bartender training are just some of the ideas that have been applied.

The National Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (Nabak) working alongside The Pubs Entertainment Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak) have been guiding the drinking habits of Kenyans by persuading alcohol selling outlets to encourage sensible drinking. The result has been very positive seeing in a marked downward trend in underage drinking as a result of recent campaigns.

Other countries are using other schemes in their fight to combat alcohol abuse. Australia has introduced restrictions in its Northern Territory, and in some towns photo identification must be shown when purchasing alcoholic drinks. These new procedures have not pleased everyone and some publicans have been subjected to abuse, but on the whole the general consensus among retailers is that this is a positive step in the right direction in the fight against the growing social problems related to alcohol.

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About The Author, Helen Stevens
Lucy is a freelance journalist writing about The Drink Shop at eComparison.