The unwarranted consumption of alcohol is becoming a dilemma on a international scale, resulting in countless social problems upsetting all walks of life. In northern Ireland the Chief Medical Officer ? Dr Michael McBride has identified the widespread use of alcohol amid the younger generation. In Northern Ireland children as young as 11 are drinking and by the age of 16 it is thought four out of five teenagers will have had an alcoholic drink of some type. Dr McBride proposes that the motive behind so many young people are turning to drink in Northern Ireland is to add to their social and sexual confidence and requests greater awareness of the harm that alcohol can do. Unfortunately excessive drinking amongst teenagers is having a adverse effect on communities across Northern Ireland chiefly within urban areas. In 2 years child crime has grown by around 20% mainly fueled by alcoholic consumption involving children as young as seven.
In comparison, burglary, vehicle crime and criminal damage have seen little or no rise whereas alcohol-related offences have grown by as much as a third. In Northern Ireland The Garda youth diversion programme has been put in place to reduce this anti social behavior with some positive results. Children suspected of crimes under this system are given the opportunity to redeem themselves by compensating or saying sorry to victims. Around 60-70% of the children have not re-offended within the first year after being submitted into this scheme. Obviously these problems are not limited to Northern Ireland and across the world countries are taking their own measures to fight the social effects of alcohol-related incidents.
In recent years millions have been invested on an yearly basis by drink manufacturers in Kenya on measures to combat alcohol abuse, underage drinking and drink driving. Sales in of alcoholic beverages have soared and these companies have invested a great deal of time in campaigns to try and decrease the sometimes negative impact. Advertising, warnings on bottle labels and bartender training are just some of the methods that have been put into action. The National Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (Nabak) working in conjunction with The Pubs Entertainment Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak) have been guiding the drinking habits of Kenyans by encouraging alcohol selling outlets to promote sensible drinking. The outcome has been very positive seeing in a sizeable downward trend in underage drinking following recent campaigns. Other countries are using other schemes in their attempt to combat alcohol abuse.
Australia has initiated restrictions in its Northern Territory, and in some towns photo identification must be produced when obtaining alcoholic drinks. These new measures have not gone down well with everyone and some publicans have been subject to abuse, but on the whole the general consensus among retailers is that this is a positive step in the right direction in the fight against the rising social problems related with alcohol.
Lucy is a freelance journalist writing about The Drink Shop at eComparison.