Tasiilaq is a small town on the eastern coast of Greenland with a population of just under 2000 inhabitants. The usually quiet town was recently affected by a spike in alcohol-related violence and suicide cases.
The police reported 15 domestic disturbances, two suicides, four suicide threats, and six other incidents of violence. The sudden spike in alcohol harm was unexpected for the town.
Furthermore, local health officials have reported that they had run out of capacity to treat people for alcohol poisoning.
The health officials of the town had requested the regional authority in Sermersooq to enforce the temporary two-week ban on alcohol sales.
The mayor of Sermersooq municipality, Charlotte Ludvigsen, and the municipal council supported the temporary ban. It is set to last until September 17, 2021 and will be reviewed before lifting.
This is a deeply unfortunate situation, and we naturally support a temporary ban to stop it,” said Charlotte Ludvigsen, mayor of Semersooq municipality, as per Euronews.
It really hurts to hear about the many personal tragedies that have occurred in a matter of days, so I have no doubt that this is the right decision.”
Charlotte Ludvigsen, mayor, Semersooq municipality
Additionally, Greenland has introduced a series of social initiatives in Tasiilaq to reduce recurring incidents of violence and other alcohol harms. This includes opening up a new family treatment centre and a youth centre.
To resolve alcohol harm in the long run, the Mayor has asked the administration for a comprehensive plan for Tasiilaq to address the social problems. Positive steps have been taken to organize alcohol-free events during the temporary ban to bring people together and help those who have been affected by the spike in alcohol harm.