Zambian Breweries country director Jose Moran says there is serious alcohol abuse among the youth in Zambia.
This is coming from a man who earns a living from brewing beer and selling it.
Alcohol is the drug of choice among our youth. Many young people are experiencing the consequences of drinking too much, at too early an age. Alcoholism among our youths is a leading public health concern in this country.
“Alcohol abuse is a problem in Zambia. We need to fight this and tell the people about the dangers of abuse of beer. We are an alcohol producer and we know the dangers of excessive alcohol abuse. We fight alcohol abuse. We are telling our consumers about the dangers of alcohol abuse in Zambia, especially over beers like Junta and Tujilijili,” says Moran.
“Junta and Tujilijili are not regulated and don’t pay tax to the government. The media has a role to ensure that underage drinking is stopped, GBV [gender based violence] is stopped. These issues are as a result of beer abuse. As Zambian Breweries, we want the media to tell the good story about the dangers of alcohol abuse.”
Alcohol abuse among the youth is indeed a severe problem in this country. It results in different consequences at the social, economic, legal and health level. Apart from the economic cost, alcohol abuse in the youth causes delinquency, social impairment and psychological problems. Additionally, due to alcohol abuse lots of people are injured, engage in promiscuous sex and fall victims to violence.
In fact, alcohol is one of the most pervasive drugs. It’s very easy for youths to get alcohol in this country.
The moderate alcohol use is thought as perfectly acceptable in almost all social circles. However, acceptance of moderate alcohol use by adults automatically sends a kind of message to young people that alcohol consumption does not have inherent danger.
Alcohol abuse among the youth is rife.
This problem won’t go away on its own. Sincere and concerted efforts need to made by numerous organisations and individuals in combating this grave problem.
The high prevalence of drinking at an early age bodes ill for psychosocial development among youth because of the increased risk for both alcohol and other co–occurring problems such as delinquency and sexual activity.
Epidemiological findings on youth adult alcohol use reveal several disturbing trends. Many youths engage in drinking practices such as binge drinking and daily drinking associated with major contributors to youth mortality like automobile crashes, suicide and with disruptions in significant contexts like school, work, family that are important for healthy development.
There are important secondary effects such as having been pushed, hit, or assaulted; having sleep disturbed for abstainers and nonbinge drinkers on college campuses with high rates of binge drinking.
There are also distinct drinking subcultures that foster negative consequences for both drinkers and those around them.
Interventions and social policies must effectively modify alcohol use and its adverse primary and secondary consequences.
Binge drinking is the term commonly used to describe drinking heavily over a short period of time with the intention of becoming intoxicated. This can be very harmful to a person’s health and wellbeing. As well as increasing the risk of health problems, binge drinking can lead young people to take risks and put themselves in dangerous situations.
Common effects of binge episodes include hangovers, headaches, nausea and vomiting, shakiness.
The ongoing social changes could be affecting young people in the form of greater disparities which are associated with a higher incidence of social problems generally, including heavy drinking.
There’s need to mobilise our communities to initiate the organisational changes necessary for effective alcohol prevention.
A polarisation in youth drinking is a likely explanation for the divergence between alcohol consumption and serious alcohol-related harms among youth.
It’s difficult to prevent young people from experimenting with alcohol, but parents can encourage sensible drinking habits.
The safest level of drinking for young people is not drinking at all.
Drinking alcohol can affect how the brain develops in people under the age of 25. People under 15 years of age are particularly at risk. Teenage brains are still developing, and the areas of the brain that undergo the most dramatic changes during the teenage years are the frontal lobe and hippocampus. These areas are associated with motivation, impulse control and addiction.
Alcohol is a neurotoxin, which means it can poison the brain. One of the effects of excessive alcohol use is that it interferes with vitamin B absorption, which prevents the brain from working properly. Long-term drinking above the recommended levels may lead to a range of disorders, collectively known as alcohol-related brain injury. Symptoms can include learning and memory problems, and difficulties with balance.
Young people are more likely to take risks when drinking. Alcohol is a significant factor in a range of risky situations, including fighting, drowning, drug overdose, self-harm or suicide.
Misuse of alcohol can be linked to the misuse of other drugs. Taking alcohol with other drugs that also affect the central nervous system, such as heroin and benzodiazepines, can be particularly risky. It can cause a person’s breathing and heart rate to decrease to dangerous levels.
Studies have shown that the most influential role models for children are their parents. Children learn by imitation, so it is important that parents demonstrate sensible drinking behaviours – drinking moderately or not at all; not drinking every time you socialise; never driving while drunk.