Time to put the brakes on SA's big drinking

Opinion piece by Dr Sue Goldstein (Executive: Monitoring & Evaluation at the Soul City Institute, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health at University of the Witwatersrand)

Globally, there has been an increase in the amount of alcohol being consumed. Research suggests that this trend is driven by an increase in drinking in India and China. In Africa, the alcohol consumption trend has not increased since 2006.

South Africa, however, has some of the worst drinking habits in the world. While only 60% of South Africans drink alcohol – higher than the worldwide average of 52% – the level of alcohol consumed amounts to each citizen drinking between ten and 12.4 litres of pure alcohol a year. Worldwide consumption is, on average, 6.2 litres.

Alcohol is estimated to cost South Africa R37.9 billion annually. This includes costs around health care, crime and social welfare, alcohol treatment and prevention and road traffic accidents. And this does not include intangible costs such as premature morbidity, morality and absenteeism from work.

Read the full article here.

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