A senior health official here has declared that the problem of alcohol consumption is a ‘growing national concern.’
Charmaine Hippolyte-Emmanuel is the Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Advisory Council Secretariat.
She issued a statement Monday in which she quoted a World Health Organization 2014 report.
The report said Saint Lucia and Grenada recorded highest Alcohol per Capita Consumption in the Americas among men and women.
Hippolyte-Emmanuel said while the rest of the Americas recorded 8 liters, Grenada and Saint Lucia recorded 12.5L and 10.4L respectively.
She also referred to the 2018 Saint Lucia National Drug Report.
Hippolyte-Emmanuel said the report indicated that alcohol is the drug people most use.
Marijuana ranked second.
Recently, several videos have appeared on social media showing people in various stages of alcohol intoxication.
In one video, a man is lying in a dry gutter and appeals for help.
Hippolyte-Emmanuel made reference to the videos.
She said the videos and the social media discussions point to how some individuals perceive alcohol.
But Hippolyte-Emmanuel observed that when people abuse alcohol it impacts the nation’s health.
She said it affects both males and females.
As a result, she listed some of the negative consequences of alcohol abuse.
Hippolyte-Emmanuel said they include liver cirrhosis, motor vehicular injuries, cancer and mental and neurological disorders.
She also mentioned fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, domestic violence and child abuse.
“People seem to think that alcohol takes away their stresses and makes them happy,” she explained.
But she warned that it is crucial to note its impacts on individuals, families, and communities.
However Hippolyte-Emmanuel acknowledged individuals see alcohol as a means of earning an income or livelihood.
Nevertheless, she declared that license holders must take responsibility for their engagements as per the stipulations from a business point of view.
“Similarly, consumers must adhere to the stipulated laws,” she said.
And Hippolyte-Emmanuel said they likewise must exercise responsibility when consuming alcohol.