Alcohol The Global Problem

The unwarranted consumption of alcohol is becoming a problem on a universal scale, resulting in numerous societal problems upsetting all walks of life. In northern Ireland the Chief Medical Officer ? Dr Michael McBride has identified the widespread 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 believed 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 raise their social and sexual confidence and called on better awareness of the damage that alcohol can do. Unfortunately extreme consumption of alcohol among teenagers is having a negative impact on communities across Northern Ireland mainly in urban areas.

Within 2 years child crime has risen by almost 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 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 lessen this anti social behavior with some positive results. Children suspected of crimes under this system are given the option 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 accepted into this scheme. Obviously these problems are not confined to Northern Ireland and around the world countries are taking their own steps to reduce 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 tackle 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 ideas that have been put into action. The National Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (Nabak) working with The Pubs Entertainment Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak) have been directing the drinking habits of Kenyans by persuading alcohol selling outlets to endorse sensible drinking. The result has been very positive seeing in a significant downward trend in underage drinking following recent campaigns. Other countries are using other methods in their attempt to control alcohol abuse. Australia has introduced restrictions in its Northern Territory, and in some towns photo identification must be shown when buying alcoholic drinks.

These new procedures have not gone down well with 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 fight against the rising social problems connected with alcohol.

Maria is a freelance journalist writing about The Drink Shop at eComparison.

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