Alcohol The International Issue

The extreme use of alcohol is becoming a dilemma on a universal scale, resulting in numerous communal problems upsetting all walks of life. In northern Ireland the Chief Medical Officer – Dr Michael McBride has identified the common use of alcohol amongst 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 in some form or other. Dr McBride suggests that the reason so many young people turning to drink in Northern Ireland is to improve their social and sexual confidence and called on better awareness of the damage that alcohol can do.

Regrettably excessive consumption of alcohol amongst teenagers is having a harmful impact on communities across Northern Ireland particularly within urban areas. In 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 little or no rise whereas alcohol-related offences have increased 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 chance to redeem themselves by compensating or saying sorry to victims. Around 60-70% of the children have not re-offended inside the first year after being submitted into this venture.

Obviously these problems are not limited to Northern Ireland and around the world countries are taking their own measures to fight the social effects of alcohol-related incidents.

In recent years millions have been invested on an yearly basis by drink companies in Kenya on measures to combat alcohol abuse, underage drinking and drink driving. Sales in of alcoholic beverages have soared and these companies have invested a great deal of time in campaigns to try and reduce the sometimes negative impact. Advertising, warnings on bottle labels and bartender training are just some of the steps that have been employed.

The National Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (Nabak) working in conjunction with The Pubs Entertainment Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak) have been guiding the drinking habits of Kenyans by persuading alcohol selling outlets to promote 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 procedures in their attempt to combat alcohol abuse. Australia has initiated 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 subject to abuse, but on the whole the general consensus amongst retailers is that this is a decisive move in the battle against the growing social problems related with alcohol.

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About The Author, Maria Tillinghous
Maria is a freelance journalist writing about The Drink Shop at eComparison.