The cost of alcohol in the community

Editorial, Normal

The National, Friday October 9th, 2015

 HOW would you describe your drinking?  

Most people say “a little” or “a moderate amount” and many people know about the sensible drinking 

limits – yet many people 

are drinking over these limits. 

Most of us enjoy a drink now and again. 

A drink to relax after a hard day, a glass over dinner, a few on a night out or a couple in front of the TV; but when it comes to alcohol, how many of us really know how much is too much?

Many people drink alcohol and the majority do so without any problems. 

Drinking can be enjoyable and sometimes helps you to unwind or relax. 

But heavy drinking, getting drunk or drinking at the wrong time or in the wrong situation can lead to a range of difficulties.

Last year, National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop talked about the option of amending the Constitution to regulate the use of alcohol.

He said a change was necessary to allow police to deal with people who disturbed the community when they were drunk and disorderly.

 Wonder what has become of that.

He also wanted people to be issued with licences to control who can buy alcohol.

Parkop said drunkenness and alcohol abuse were not only a public nuisance but also the basis for bigger problems in Port Moresby such as violence in families or in the community. These problems not exist only 

in the nation’s capital 

but everywhere in the country.

How about introducing lessons on in schools about sensible drinking?

These children when they grow up are bound to come across alcohol and with what has drilled over the years will hopefully practice sensible drinking. 

Remember every drink one has, adds up, and over time it can have a bigger impact on our health and wellbeing than we realise. 

That’s why it’s important to stick to the sensible drinking guidelines.

They say women shouldn’t regularly drink more than 2-3 units (equivalent to a 175ml glass of 13 per cent wine) of alcohol a day, and men 3-4 units (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4 per cent lager). 

The truth is that drinking alcohol is never going to be risk-free, but regularly going over the sensible drinking guidelines can have a negative effect on your overall health. 

The liver processes alcohol and it can only cope with so much at a time. 

Drinking more alcohol than the liver can cope with can damage liver cells and produce toxic by-product chemicals. 

Statistics released during an alcohol symposium about three years ago showed the unrecorded alcohol consumption in Papua New Guinea is estimated to be 0.5 litres pure alcohol per capita for population older than 15 for the years after 1995 (estimated by a group of key alcohol experts).

The number of fatal road accidents in Papua New Guinea has risen by more than 400 per cent between 1968 and 1978. 

Post-mortem blood alcohol levels were above 80 mg per cent in 42 per cent of the victims tested and very high levels were found in a third of the drivers.

A study conducted in Port Moresby found that more alcohol-related accidents occurred at night and on weekends, particularly on pay weekends.

A post-mortem examination of the dead drivers in a study showed that 53 per cent had a blood alcohol level greater than 80mg per 100ml while 32 per cent had detectable blood alcohol but at a level less than 80 mg per 100 ml.

In 1991, 40 per cent of hospital admissions were alcohol-related.

A domestic violence study carried out by the Papua New Guinea Law Reform Commission found that 71 per cent of the women interviewed considered alcohol abuse as a major cause of marital problems. 

Of those who had been beaten by their spouse, 26 per cent related the incident to alcohol.

Most of the statistics are from 5/10 years ago; just imagine what the statistics is for from 2010 up till today.

While businesses want to make money and the National Capital District Commission needs the fees and taxes to run the services in the city, there is a serious need to look at the cost of alcohol to the community in general.