“As development occurs, in the absence of major mitigating influences such as religious prohibitions, alcohol consumption and resulting problems are likely to rise with increasing incomes.” This trend has clearly taken hold in many developing countries, and alcohol consumption and its ensuing harm have increased. As incomes rise, it is not surprising that poor people turn to drink, as they may see alcohol as a salve for their problems, similar to its portrayal in the advertisements and other marketing efforts that envision a taste of luxury, recreation and a lifestyle beyond everyday worries.
Intoxication from and dependence on narcotic drugs create similar problems for individuals, communities, and the society at large. Wisely, United Nations’ conventions strictly regulate the use, distribution and production of narcotics, which, in practice, are forbidden in most countries. Those restrictions, however, have been ineffective in preventing producers and dealers from pushing illegal drugs, in particular to youth populations. New synthetic substances (some of which fall through the cracks in regulation), sold and distributed through the internet and postal systems represent an additional challenge for drug prevention policies.
This section addresses theharm generated from alcohol and drug use. The discussion will highlight various effective strategies to prevent an increase in problems, including the adoption of national control policies and community interventions. This section also outlines how substance use relates to other important development challenges, including non-communicable diseases (NCD), HIV/AIDS, and gender discrimination. Subsequent sections cover the role of the alcohol industry and relatedtrade issues and particular issues surrounding illicit drugs.
As the reader will note, these pages contain more documentation on alcohol-related harm than on drug problems. The limited content on illicit drugs reflects a strategic choice by FORUT, driven by the availability of only limited resources for this project.