Alcohol A Worldwide Problem

The excessive use of alcohol is becoming a problem on a global scale, resulting in a variety of societal problems upsetting all walks of life. In northern Ireland the Chief Medical Officer – Dr Michael McBride has identified the common use of alcohol amid the younger generation. In Northern Ireland children as young as 11 are drinking and by the age of 16 it is thought four out of five teenagers will have had an alcoholic drink of some type. Dr McBride hints that the motive behind so many young people turning to drink in Northern Ireland is to enhance their social and sexual confidence and requests more awareness of the damage that alcohol can do.

Sadly extreme drinking amongst teenagers is having a adverse effect on communities across Northern Ireland principally within urban areas. Within 2 years child crime has gone up by approximately 20% mainly fueled by alcoholic consumption involving 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 lower 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 saying sorry to victims. Around 60-70% of the children have not re-offended inside the first year after being submitted into this scheme.

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

In recent years millions have been invested on an annual basis by drink companies in Kenya on measures to fight alcohol abuse, underage drinking and drink driving. Sales in of alcoholic beverages have increased rapidly and these companies have invested a lot in campaigns to try and stem the sometimes negative effect. Advertising, warnings on bottle labels and bartender training are just some of the steps that have been put into practice.

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

Other countries are using other schemes in their battle 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 measures have not gone down well with everyone and some publicans have been subjected to harassment, but on the whole the general consensus amongst retailers is that this is a positive move in the fight against the growing social problems connected to alcohol.

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