Local officials are concerned over this country’s serious alcohol problem, asserting that there’s a high level of alcohol consumption among the population.
“I think the consumption is very serious,” says Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Naomie Jn. Baptiste.
She asserted that the problem was highlighted recently when there was a ban on alcohol sales for two weeks.
“We could see the reaction to bringing back the alcohol – the elation, we could see how people were upset and angry that the alcohol was banned,” Jn. Baptiste recalled.
Jn Baptiste was part of a National Television Network (NTN) panel discussing the alcohol issue on Tuesday.
The Consultant Psychiatrist who works at the Saint Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre and in private practice, disclosed that on almost a daily basis, she deals with people who use alcohol and experience alcohol complications.
Consultant Pathologist Dr. Stephen King who was also on the panel, cited 2016 World Health Organiation (WHO) statistics relating to alcohol consumption in Saint Lucia.
He said that according to the WHO, the per capita consumption of pure alcohol in Saint Lucia in people aged 15 and over was 26.1 litres, compared to the global average of 19.4.
King said the statistics indicated that for females, the per capita consumption was 9.3 litres, above the global average of 7.
“We are consuming more alcohol than the global average,” King observed.
The former Chief Medical Officer also cited WHO statistics in relation to binge drinking among young Saint Lucians, which he said highlighted the magnitude of this country’s problem
King warned that there are multiple ramifications from indiscriminate alcohol consumption, including mental, physical and social problems.