The use of alcohol dates back to the most ancient recorded history. The pros and cons of the effect of alcohol on the human body have been into debate forever. Although the general agreement is that alcohol is used both as a tonic and a poison.
Low-to-moderate consumption of alcohol benefits the heart and circulatory system; it possibly prevents type 2 diabetes mellitus (although that is still debatable between the old-school and new-school of thoughts); it considerably reduces the likelihood of gallstones and kidney stones (Saddichha, 2010).
However, heavy consumption of alcohol is one of the major causes of preventable illness in various countries. Due to alcohol misuse, there are often cases involving violence, accidents, and social and legal barbarity. But these have not reduced the usage of alcohol (Saddichha, 2010).
As per the WHO, various countries including India, alcohol usage is so permeated into the culture that it is no longer categorized as a drug or a problem. Owing to these problems, in the 2020 World Health Report, the WHO Executive Board has suggested an urgent need for policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol (World Health Organization, 2020).
Underage alcohol usage is a serious problem in most countries today. It is a prime cause of innumerable tragic fatalities, health issues, career failures, unsafe sex, behavioral issues, etc. Most teens are not indulged in alcohol abuse by their families. Rather, the media plays an important role to glorify alcohol consumption to the youth. Despite several national and state laws, it remains easy for teenagers to get access to alcohol (National Research Council Institute of Medicine, 2004). It is a social, political, and personal responsibility to keep a check and minimize alcohol use among the underage youth.
Apart from teens, alcohol usage among pregnant ladies, physically ill individuals, and mentally ill patients also offer high risk to their families and society at large. Often, such alcohol users are aware of the after-effects, yet they fail to refrain themselves. Alcohol usage in pregnancy is such a grave issue, that it often leads to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Medical practitioners and researchers have been warning pregnant ladies regarding the same.
However, in several cases alcoholism wins over motherly logics causing fetal harm. Studies show that many countries are considering the criminalizing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy (Gardner, 2016). Although this is not an effective solution, yet social and personal consciousness and implementation of policy can reduce FASDs.
Counselors, rehabs, articles, and books are some of the measures that people consider individually to overcome alcohol usage. Psychologists have discussed various triggers of alcohol consumption, like places, people, days and times, or feelings.
On recognizing the trigger, one can reduce alcohol usage by keeping track, taking charge of oneself, slowing down or refusing drinks, sustaining, and being determined (Miller, 2013). Bringing a change globally on an urgent basis is not easy. Larger measures and actions need to be undertaken.
National and state governments should consider implementing policies for the production and distribution of alcoholic beverages, strict limitation of minimum age for alcohol purchase and consumption, limitation on providing liquor license to restaurants and bars, import and export of alcohol, etc.
Global control is possible only if global policies regarding alcohol use are implemented by one authorizing body. Political issues, social and cultural backgrounds, and revenues and taxes obtained on alcohol should be measured. Furthermore, each law keeper needs to adhere to these policies.
Gardner, J. B. (2016). Should drinking during pregnancy be criminalised to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder? South African Journal of Bioethics and Law, 9(1), 26-30. doi:10.7196.SAJBL.468
National Research Council Institute of Medicine. (2004). Reducing Underage Drinking – A Collective Responsibility (Vol. 2). (R. J. Mary Ellen O’Connell, Ed.) Washington D.C., United States: National Academies Press. Retrieved September 09, 2020
Sahoo Saddichha, N. M. (2010, January). Why do we Need to Control Alcohol Use Through Legislative Measures? A South-East Asia Perspective? Indian Journal of Community Medicine, 35(1), 147-152. doi:10.4103/0970-0218.62583
William R. Miller, R. F. (2013). Controlling Your Drinking: Tools to Make Moderation Work for You (2 ed.). New York: The Guilford Press. Retrieved September 09, 2020 from https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/28-03-2020-who-to-accelerate-action-to-reduce-the-harmful-use-of-alcohol