Alcoholism is a big problem in South Africa. According to World Health organization it is the primary drug in South Africa. In South Africa it is reported that alcohol is responsible for nearly half of all the motor accidents with over 30% of the population having an alcohol problem or are at risk of having one. According to The world health organization alcohol affects 17.5 million South Africans with several Studies showing that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics. The alcoholism problem does not only affect the youths, fetal alcohol syndrome is common in South Africa as the statistics shows that 122 out of every 1000 Grade 1 pupils in the Northern Cape town of De Aar have fetal alcohol syndrome. This is the highest incidence of the fetal alcohol syndrome in one population anywhere in the world. There are also locally brewed beers that are somewhat illegal but are still highly consumed the country has estimated 182000 illegal shebeens.
Dr. David Bayever from the government drug control organization, known as the CDA, is quoted saying “The drug problem in South Africa remains very serious with drug usage being twice the world norm in most cases…and we are only dealing with what we know about…this is only the tip of the iceberg,”. He says that at least 15% of South Africans have a drug problem; this number however is expected to rise. While some drugs are produced directly in South Africa, it is also a major transshipment hub for importing and exporting them owing to its strategic location. Poverty, unemployment, lack of recreational facilities, being surrounded by substance abusers, and long work shifts have also mentioned by researchers as factors contributing to substance abuse. The age of initiation of substance abuse using non-drugs such as glue was 9 years old and alcohol 10 – 12 years old.
The schools are not left out, the heaviest drinkers are aged between 18-22. In high schools 35% of the students are alcohol drinkers taking at least 9 units spirits, 1 liter wine or 2 liters of beer. In a CDA study 20% of 14 year old boys and nearly half of 17 year old boys drank in the previous month. Girls were a bit lower with 18% of 14 year olds and 35% of 17 year olds in the same period. (CDA). Considering the high rate of alcohol abuse in South Africa it is important that there be effective treatment means for the users of alcohol if the population is to be freed from alcohol addiction.
The problems associated with alcohol abuse are well known by the people who abuse it. Despite this fact, in South Africa it’s been reported by the Medical Research Centre (MDC) that 50% of all people who die of unnatural causes have above-legal alcohol levels in their bloodstream. The MRC also estimates that up to 30% of all general hospital admissions are related directly or indirectly to alcohol consumption. A big reason to worry.
The other social problems associated with alcohol abuse include assault, domestic violence, child neglect where parents neglect their children as all their money is spent on alcohol. It has also been shown that alcohol is involved in most traffic accident cases. For example, 60% of all pedestrians involved in traffic collisions were found to have high blood-alcohol levels and 76% of domestic violence cases in the rural South-Western Cape also involved high blood-alcohol levels.
As stated earlier South Africa also has the highest rate of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) cases across the globe at 8-12%, with approximately 70-80 babies per 1000 born being affected with FAS in the Western Cape. This calls for guidance to parents and strategies to be laid in helping parents who abuse alcohol to stop using alcohol especially during pregnancy so as to reduce this rate.
Alcohol abuse in itself is very costly to the south African government as alcohol abuse overall, including healthcare, police enforcement, incarceration et cetera, costs the country R9 billion per year besides this the country is also losing its manpower to alcohol deaths, it is estimated that cirrhosis which is a liver disease most commonly caused by over-consumption of alcohol is the 5th leading cause of death in the country and kills approximately 25,000 people each year.
Alcohol being the problem it is to South Africa; there many public rehabilitation centers that have been set to help deal with alcoholism and help the addicts break the chain of alcohol addiction. However most of these public rehabilitation centers are filled with people as a greater population is affected. The huge number of alcohol addicts has led to a strain on the resources in these centers making it impossible for an addict to get a good treatment, moreover most of these rehab centers take on a strict Christian approach to treating alcoholics which do not suit all of the addicts. This has led to the rise of other private rehabilitation centers to help give an alternative to alcohol addicts.
The private rehab centers have now offered an alternative to addicts giving more time to every addict as they are less crowded than the public rehab centers. However they charge fairly higher and that is quite a problem to most addicts who do not have stable jobs.
Finally, Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center is committed to helping all people trapped in drug addiction. Call on her today at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for help.