Alcohol Consumption vs. Economics

In recognition of alcohol being a legal substance in Grenada, Head of the Drug Avoidance Secretariat, Dave Alexander is advocating responsible consumption of the substance to help protect one’s health.

Alexander who is one of the persons responsible for managing and co-ordinating the implementation of the National Drug Programme told a local radio station if measures are not taken with regards to the level of Alcohol consumption in Grenada it could pose a serious health problem for the country.

One of the areas of focus for the Drug Control Secretariat is to implement the National Policy on Alcohol which has its genesis from a report which shows that the Caribbean Region consumes a large volume of Alcohol, which is above the world’s average.

The report indicated that Caribbean people consume 66% hard liquor, 30% beers, and about 4% of wines.

Alexander said local statistics obtained through admissions and treatment at various health institutions on the Island and in addition to autopsies of people whose death resulted from alcohol consumption, point to a problem on hand.

He said it must be noted that there is now a high level of alcohol consumption of females.

The Drug Control Officer stated that whereas in the past, rum shops existed in every community, and was patronised by the men,  in today’s society with the emergence of night clubs, a number of young females would visit these places, and consume a large amount of alcohol.

Alexander also addressed the argument being put forward in some quarters that the sale of alcohol realises economic benefits for the country.

He admitted that the issue of economics versus health has to be taken into consideration in looking at the health dangers of alcohol consumption.

He believes there are other ways in which revenue can be generated besides the massive sale of alcohol.

Alexander made it clear that the Drug Avoidance Secretariat is not saying that alcohol should not be sold as it is a legal product.

“The majority of people who consume alcohol do so in a responsible manner, but you have some who do not and that’s where the problem lies,” he remarked.

According to him, medical experts have shown that a male person should consume no more than three ounces of drinks a day, while a female should consume no more than two.

“Yes it (the alcohol) is bringing money in but look at the social and health consequences of it”,  Alexander argued.

The former school teacher disclosed that there is a number of schools that do not adhere to the National Schools Policy on Drugs.

The document, formulated in 2002, disbands the sale of alcohol at school functions.
Alexander said there are some schools which violate the policy, and proceed to sell alcohol on the pretense of raising funds in aid of school development.

“We prefer to sell things that would destroy the health of the nation to gain a few dollars”, he said.
The National Policy on Alcohol also seeks to address advertisements during prime time in the local media.

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