Alcohol and drug problems
For many, consuming alcohol may seem an easy way to cope with everyday problems. That view is certainly reinforced by images in alcohol promotions that hammer home the notion that alcohol offers a taste of luxury, recreation, and entrée into a world free of everyday worries. Not so apparent are the myriad health and other problems created by alcohol use that impose additional burdens on poor people, generate substantial problems for society, and become onerous stumbling blocks for development.
ALMA study on alcohol in Malawi
Two articles emanating from the ALMA study of alcohol in Malawi have been published. Liquor sachets is the topic of one of them, while the other explores the social drinking norms. The research was conducted by Norwegian and Malawian researchers.
New cancer code:
The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the European Commission has released an updated 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer. The Code points at alcohol use as one of the significant risk factors. Still public awareness around this link is alarmingly low.
Stories from Galeshewe, South Africa:
Many statistics, numbers and graphs have been used over the years to show the magnitude of the alcohol problem. But figures often fail to show the human suffering which follows harmful use of alcohol. Soul City in South Africa has gone to the other end of the scale by asking young people to tell their personal stories. Touching and informative, and strong reminders that there are many aspects of alcohol use which are not shown in alcohol advertising.
A toolkit for development NGOs
Alcohol and drug prevention has not been high on the agenda of most development organizations. A new booklet from FORUT provides tools that will help development NGOs to integrate substance use issues into their programmes; whether their fields of interest be gender equality, HIV/AIDS prevention, poverty alleviation, community development, or other development issues.
Alcohol use is related to a broad range of health problems, as well as social problems. This is a fact in cultures and countries all over the world. Even if the general level of alcohol consumed is lower in developing societies than in Western countries, alcohol still represents a serious obstacle to development in many countries in the global South. These facts are described and discussed in the FORUT booklet “Alcohol and Development”, printed in October 2014.
Alcohol fits in everywhere. It is a risk factor in many of the important health and welfare issues of today; violence, including violence against women; non-communicable diseases as well as communicable diseases; mental health problems; injuries and accidents, said Dr. Vladimir Poznyak at a WHO/UNDP workshop
Following a comprehensive review, the trustees of the charity 'Comic Relief' have announced that they will no longer make investments in alcohol, tobacco and arm. The charity came under criticism last year after BBC's Panorama revealed it had invested in sectors which appeared to contradict the core values of the charity.
World Cancer Report 2014
When The World Cancer Report 2014 was launched last month, a United Nations statment called for multipronged preventive action including treaties and laws extending tobacco-style restrictions to alcohol and sweetened beverages.
South Africa alcohol policy under scrutiny
Chair of the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance, Savera Kalideen, points out that policies in South Africa protect profits but fail to address alcohol's harmful effects on society. The article is published in the newspaper Mail&Guardian.
Tanzania has experienced the same increasing problem with hard liquor sold in plastic sachets as a number of other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Tanzanian situation was presented by Dr Gerry Mshana in a STRIVE Learning Lab recently. Dr. Mshana focused on the effect of macro-economic factors such as pricing and packaging on alcohol drinking norms among young people.