The rate at which bars and drinking joints are springing up in different parts of the Country indicates that youth are not only looking for ways to burn stress, but are also promoting alcoholism.
The situation has become alarming to the extent that hardly does one move beyond a stone-throw in a municipality without seeing a drinking bar.
This, has serious health and social implications that await to hit raw nerves of the Ghanaian society if no pragmatic steps are taken to curb the increasing rate of alcoholism among the youth in the country.
Alcoholism seems to be more acceptable to our society but it is silently causing havoc in families and wasting away the lives of young individuals. It affects productivity, causes ill health and socially affects relationships.
During this festive season, I did my own observations by visiting some spots or bars at places including Suame, Konongo, Kaneshie, Nungua where it indicates the youth are getting hooked onto the use of excessive alcohol intake.
Some could take four bottles per hour while others enjoy excessive mixture with variety of hard spirits.
According to a Psychiatrist and the Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei alcohol is a drug, and a drug of addiction, meaning that it has a high potential or chance of making one dependent on it.
Alcohol causes some changes in the part of the brain called reward centres. It stimulates those centres, creating a feeling of elation and making one want to drink more.
He describes alcoholism in the country as “quite a serious problem”
With the serious health consequences on the body, its consumption affects the liver, giving cirrhosis or the hardening of the liver, which could later turn into cancer. It enlarges the heart, making it unable to function well and causing heart failure, which leads to the swelling of the feet.
The consumption of alcohol affects the pancreas, giving diabetes. It destroys the stomach, giving peptic ulcer; destroys the brain cells and thereby produces epilepsy; and it destroys the kidneys, leading to renal failure.
With my observation during this festive season, I recorded over 50 people at a spot, with the majority being youth between the ages of 17 and 26 years drinking alcohol with the excuse of enjoying Christmas. Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ hence, to take stock of our lives as individuals as well as to express love to family and friends.
But, some individuals have define it by enjoying themselves as they drink to stupor as a form of expressing joy and thanksgiving to God.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), more than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs affecting millions more people — parents, family members, friends and neighbours.
Suggesting way to curb this canker, Municipal and district assemblies should provide communities with recreational facilities in order to disengage the youth from social vices such as alcoholism.
Authorities must ensure that, drinking spots without business operating licence were demolished by various Assemblies.
As a way of discouraging alcoholism, there should be possible heavy taxes to be imposed on all alcoholic drinks.
Again, as much as possible, health professionals should be well resourced to give intensive health education and counselling on drug and substance abuse to victims to help curb the problem
Parents, teachers, religious leaders, chiefs and politicians must all come on board to help address the high consumption of alcohol in the region, particularly among the youth, for as the cliché goes, they are the future leaders.
The numerous advert on media should be regulated to develop programmes that would build generational leaders and well promising country.
Editor: Mr. Louis Owusu