Doctor Marcus Day, the Director of the Saint Lucia based Caribbean Drug Abuse Research Institute (CDARI), has been speaking out on the issue of the consumption of alcohol at political events.
Day told the Times that Saint Lucia has had a “chicken and rum syndrome” for many years.
“This is a problem because I think what we don’t do is educate the voters as to what the facts are and what we do is entice them with beverage and food,” he asserted.
Noting the need for sustainable development goals, the CDARI Director called for a completely new focus that would examine the issues of alcohol advertisements and sponsorship.
He observed that alcohol contributes to so many health problems currently being experienced here, including diabetes and hypertension.
“We need to rethink what we are doing and one of those things is the free flow of alcohol at political events,” Day told the Times.
On the matter of alcohol consumption by young people, he expressed the view that Saint Lucia has a relatively relaxed alcohol policy towards young people, which has prevented a culture of youth binge drinking found in places with more stringent laws.
“I mean it is not even illegal for children to drink here. The legislation says it is illegal for them to purchase – the consumption actually isn’t prohibited,” Doctor Marcus Day explained.
He said he did not think that Saint Lucia does not have as many youth alcohol problems like the United Kingdom, which he said has serious youth binge drinking issues.
Day told the Times:
“I think in a way what we have here is a general initiation of young people into alcohol through their family where you can have a drink around the house, beer in particular or shandy, and so people learn for the most part to drink responsibly.”
He said he thinks the problem that Saint Lucia has with alcohol is its use as a sedative to self-medicate for pain and trauma.
The CDARI Director told the Times that the lives of some people here are “incredibly painful.”
“People are really in pain and alcohol is one of the things they turn to,” Day observed, adding that he would rather that they turn to cannabis to kill the pain, because it has much less health consequences.