The Director-General of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye released a statement titled: ‘NAFDAC cautions on alcohol abuse.’ The government’s plan to ban alcohol sold in these small containers was included in the statement.
The statement addressed the concerns of increasing alcohol consumption and harm from these small alcohol containers and cautions that alcohol was a “toxic substance with dependence producing properties”.
Uncontrolled access and availability of high concentration alcohol in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles has been put forward as a factor contributing to substance and alcohol abuse in Nigeria with its negative impact on the society,” said the Statement by Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), as per Punch.Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General, National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
Key points in the statement:
- Several interventions jointly agreed upon by major stakeholders are being undertaken and as a first step, no new products in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles above 30% ABV will be registered by NAFDAC.
- Effective January 31, 2020, producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume PET and glass bottles are to reduce production by 50% compared to capacity prior to January 2020.
- The overall goal is a complete phase out of high concentration alcohol in sachets and small PET and glass bottles in line with the agreed roadmap or earlier.
Alcohol harm in Nigeria
As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria has a high total per capita alcohol consumption at 13.4 litres which is over double the average of the WHO African Region.
Alcohol harm is very high in the country with about two-thirds (60.3%) of alcohol using adolescents between 15 to 19 years of age engaging in heavy episodic alcohol use. Over half (55%) of all Nigerians older than 15 years of age who consume alcohol engage in heavy episodic alcohol use.
Alcohol attributable deaths are quite high in the country with over 62,000 people dying due to alcohol related liver cirrhosis, cancer and road traffic injury. The country is ranked on the highest end for years of life lost due to alcohol.
Despite the obvious harm, Nigeria does not have a comprehensive alcohol control policy thereby making it easy for alcohol producers to aggressively push their products on all Nigerians, including children and youth, for example with the help of widely available and easily affordable small sachets and bottles.
The move by the government to ban alcohol sold in small containers such as sachets and small bottles is therefore a step in the right direction. However, the Nigerian society is in dire need of a comprehensive alcohol law as recommended by the World Health Organization to comprehensively regulate alcohol availability and affordability, and banning alcohol advertising, promotions and sponsorship, as packaged in the blue print of the alcohol policy best buy solutions recommended by WHO.