Make the world 'Safer'

To all of us who crawl through dreadful weeks, with the hope to unwind over a weekend of tipple and fun, are you sure it’s not a habit that can develop into an addiction; one that will not affect your health?

Based on a recent study, World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that one in 20 deaths is caused due to harmful consumption of alcohol. An estimate of three million people die every year due to this habit; more than three quarters among them were men. In an effort to tackle alcohol related deaths and illness, WHO has proposed a new program called Safer — five high impact strategies that governments across the world can use to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol.

As the beer capital and a home to many many young adults who live by the pub culture, we talk to Bengalurens to find out how they feel about it.

Ananya Bhattacharya, an application developer in a private firm, having been in an accident recently where a drunk driver was about to crash into her cab, agrees with the initiative and opines that one can only benefit from it.

She says, “I was on my way back on a weekend night when the incident happened. We pulled over immediately and walked up to the driver who was heavily drunk. There wasn’t much we could do, he wasn’t in his senses. India, as a free country does give us the option to choose what we want. As mature adults it is on us to make proper use of it but most people don’t understand this. Being an IT city, we are home to many youngsters who are not necessarily happy with their job. They look up to weekends to grab a drink, unwind and vent out their frustration. It doesn’t take too long for this to become a habit. Not only causing harm to themselves but those around them.”

A previous study by WHO says that 33 percent of the adult population regularly consumes alcohol for different self-described reasons. Can we all agree that when you give a reason to a bad habit, it becomes way harder to control it?

Akshay Suresh, a graphic designer at Zyme Solutions, says, “Most of the people who consume alcohol on a regular basis are addicted to it. Increasing the price of alcohol will not affect them. They will find different means to satisfy their needs. It will only cause a minor impact. What we can focus on is to tighten the already existing rules. For example; if a person is caught drunk driving they should punished to an extent that they never dare do it again. And that requires an incorrupt government. In the case of addicts, until they seek help themselves; I don’t know what can possibly make the difference.”

Sujay, a Bsc graduate, believes that an initiative as such will not pan out the way they intend it to. He says, “While there is a minority that will benefit there are many negatives of imposing such a rule. Those who are addicted to alcohol will start taking loans and fall into debt; a price hike will not stop them. And others, who cannot afford it, may start consuming other drugs that are a lot more harmful.”

The common assumption is that most people who consume alcohol are aware of its negative effects. But this might not be the case. Psychologist Anikha SJ throws light on what causes alcoholism and how one can deal with it. 

“Alcoholism is a result of factors such as hereditary, socio-environmental and psychological conditions. A family history of alcoholism, social conditions creates conducive space to access and consume alcohol at an earlier age, or it may help someone deal with depression, anxiety, stress and other psychological conditions. The impacts could be physiological such as harm to liver, high BP,  vision problems, loss of occupation, social withdrawal and isolation, estranged relationships, depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc. It is important to moderate this problem at an individual and larger level. Individually a person may seek therapy to determine if even moderate or social drinking is for them or not. A mental health expert may be at a better position to help the person make choices after contemplating the risks and dangers associated with their life. At a larger level Creating awareness forums, campaigns and training programnes will help in providing accurate information busting myths.”

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