Editor's Comment

Put beer bottle down

THE increase in the number of bars in Zambia is an indicator of citizens’ appreciation of alcoholic drinks.

Unfortunately, while this craving for beer opens business opportunities for many people and increases tax revenue for Government, it is also a health hazard for those that abuse it.
Some people drink beer every day as though it is their only activity in life.
If alcoholism was a religion, it was certainly going to be the biggest in Zambia.
Bars are the most patronised public places to the extent that they distort the economic realities in the country.
Some people would complain about not having money to fulfil their obligations in families or homes but are often seen drinking and sponsoring imbibing binges.
Excessive drinking has several consequences ranging from failing to perform effectively at work and in the community, to causing hunger in homes and triggering violence.
The rate at which citizens are becoming alcoholics is worrying because it is a danger to domestic, community and national productivity.
With Government having recently launched the Seventh National Development Plan to steer the country to a prosperous middle-income country by 2030, citizens are expected to play their role by working hard.
They must be stimulated to achieve positive goals by great ideas and not by the influence of beer, whose consumption is on an upswing.
Some citizens have suddenly developed the desire to consume alcohol beyond their capacity to control it. This is regardless of how it affects their life.
In a fast world, most people want to live beyond their means, and when they fail to do so, they resort to beer consumption and drug abuse.
Other people who drink heavily are victims of social problems and feel that they can only resolve them by over- imbibing.
Alcohol is never a solution for any problem. If anything, abuse of alcohol adds to problems.
Rather, problems can only be resolved when they are shared. That is why the wise say a problem shared is a problem halved.
Talking about a problem with people close to you, whether in the family, profession, at work, church or community, usually makes it seem less daunting or troubling.
The country’s biggest mental asylum, the Chainama Hills Hospital in Lusaka, has recorded an increase in the number of men being diagnosed with alcohol-related mental illnesses this year.
Statistics at Chainama indicate an increase from 385 recorded in the first quarter last year to 669 this year within the same period, and alcohol abuse cases are the major reason for mental illness admissions at the hospital.
The hospital says excessive alcohol and substance abuse by men due to various circumstances is on an increase at the hospital compared to women who in most cases get help from society.
Men seem to be in denial and do not open up when afflicted by problems and take to the bottle as a way of resolving their problems.
And when alcohol cannot help them overcome their problems, they end up at the mental asylum.
This is because alcohol can have a very temporary positive impact on the mood. In the long term, it can cause big problems for one’s mental health.
The country can do better by cutting down on alcohol consumption.



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