WHY SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION?
Alcohol is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It is also the most abused substance, causing massive social – economic distress and losses .The World Health Organization data on alcohol consumption ,indicate that every year, more than 3 million people die from alcohol related causes; One in any 20 deaths is alcohol related. Global figures indicate that at least 239 million men suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder,(AUD) compared to 46 million women. WHO, (2018), Global Status Report indicated that alcohol causes more than 5% of the global disease burden. In USA, AUD is the 3rd leading preventable cause of death.
On deaths attributable to alcohol, 28% were from injuries from traffic crashes, self – harm and interpersonal violence.21% were caused by digestive disorders, 19% from cardiovascular diseases and the remainder was due to infections, cancers and mental disorders.
The WHO report on Kenyan scenario notes that the burden of diseases and injuries from harmful alcohol use is alarmingly high.in 2016, 4 out of 100 deaths resulted from alcohol consumption. The prevalence of alcohol use is dangerously high; at 4%.Alcohol dependence is at the rate of 1.4 % of the entire population, while harmful use was 2.6% of the entire population.Majority of those who died from alcohol were men; at 27%. To make matters worse, men are 5 times more affected than women and consumption begins before 15 years.
Closer home in Kenya, alcohol is the most abused drug. According to the National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse, (NACADA), March 2023 report, over 3 million Kenyans are affected by alcohol. Another 2 million by tobacco while at least 1 million are affected by Miraa.
The most worrying fact is that young people are more affected than any other group in the society; this is the group that is expected to be the most productive socially and economically. The NACADA report points out that ages 25-35 years are the most affected by alcohol consumption ,followed by ages 15-24 years .Males constitutes the majority of the affected at 12.6% while female are at 2.4%.
The NACADA report on alcohol and other drugs consumption in learning institutions, among students is quite distressing not only to the parents and guardians but to all Kenyans of good will. The figures were as follows;
- 3% of students are consuming alcohol
- 5% are chewing miraa
- 2 % are abusing tobacco products
- 8% are abusing bhang
This signals great dangers to the nation. There is to enhance both preventive and interventional measures to rescue our youth from alcohol and drug abuse.