Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Alcohlization of African states. The health and social effects

Alcohol they say gladdens the heart of man, but too much of it is problematic. Alcohol consumption plays an important role in many African cultures. Palm wine, homemade liquors and other alcoholic beverages are used for libation and other practices during traditional ceremonies, such wedding, naming and coming of age ceremonies. The alcohol industry (industrial and local) is a source of income for many Africans, but its abusive consumption has led to many health and social problems, especially among the younger population.

Many African states are red zones for alcohol consumption, such as Nigeria, kenya, Namibia and Uganda, which are among the 10 biggest alcohol drinking countries in Africa. The younger population; 15 years old and above are those who consume the highest amount of alcohol.

Health effects of alcohol consumption

Alcohol is classified as a “sedative, hypnotic” drug and can have adverse health effects when taken in high quantities.

Alcohol poisoning, or overdose, occurs when one drinks too much. Excessive alcohol consumption affects breathing, heart rate and gag reflex and can potentially lead to coma and death. An example is the case of the death of more than 27 people in the Eastern region of Cameroon in November 2017, after consuming “Odontol”, a toxic homemade alcohol.

Injury is the most likely health effect of a single incidence of consuming too much alcohol. The type and seriousness of injury varies greatly depending on circumstances, such falls, road accidents and assaults. This is mostly as a result of the drowsiness and hallucination effects.

Psychological traumas resulting alcohol consumption can be short term or linger for a lifetime. Same goes for injuries; such as head injuries, that may not fully heal


Social effects of alcohol consumption


Many Africans believe that drinking is the fastest means of solving or forgetting about their problems, and this has turned a lot of Africans into alcoholics; men and women alike. Many Africans indulge in such practices and end up developing a dependence on alcohol, as one often hear people say they cannot go a day with at least bottle of beer.

Today, youths consume more alcohol than adults. They drink to cope with their problems as well, especially unemployment, in addition to the usual social motives for drinking, such as peer pressure, the need to belong and to prove their prowess. This leads to a lot of other problems such as unwanted teenage pregnancies, as many young people are unable to control their sexual drive after consuming alcohol, which also exposes them to STDs especially HIV.  Alcohol consumption also leads to increase in moral decadence among the youthful population, especially in African cities, such as theft, rape, assault, just to name a few.

Alcohol consumption also has an economic impact on African states. The brewery industries are a source of revenue for most African states as they have high tax rates. They are also a source of employment for many Africans. Unfortunately, the negative effects of alcohol consumption on the African economy outnumbers the positive ones. This is because most of what Africans earn is spent on alcohol and on the resulting effects such as paying for hospital bills and reparation for damages after an alcohol related incident.

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