South Africa: Alcohol Source Of Road Crashes, Crime
At least 1500 deaths and thousands of injuries will result from road carnage this festive season in South Africa, according to Police Minister Bheki Cele.
The Minister further explained that it’s the same police stations that report increasing rates of murders, attempted murders, rapes and domestic abuse as those that deal with a rise in numbers of alcohol confiscations over the festive season.
The figure we get on the deaths on the road are also associated with alcohol. The figures we get on drownings are also associated (with alcohol). The figures we get on the abuse of women and children are also associated with alcohol.
It is a source of evil and a source of crime,” the minister says, per IOL.
As individuals are often part of social networks, alcohol harm has a ripple effect across a person’s entire network of family, friends, employers, colleagues, and anyone else who depends on the person. Research shows that each person suffering from alcohol problems affects at least 16 more people.
While 69% of the South African adult population lives free from alcohol in any given year, the people consuming alcohol do so at hazardous rates. Per capita consumption among alcohol users is a staggering 29.9 liters. 74% of alcohol users between the ages of 15 to 19 are binge-drinking.
South Africa belongs to the countries that rank highest in years of life lost due to alcohol.
Government action urged by experts
Yet alcohol is socially accepted and flows freely in South African communities. Alcohol manufacturers spend billions of rand in advertisements promoting alcohol and myths about its effects.
Mr Cele’s moral courage to address alcohol harm receives positive feedback from public health experts, such as Dr Firoz Osman, a general medical practitioner, and executive member of the Media Review Network. The case is clear: the adverse effects of alcohol fuelling the destruction of families and communities, violent deaths and serious crime requires urgent governmental intervention.