Alcohol is weapon of mass destruction
Alcohol plays a crucial role in the lives of millions of our citizens, both positive and extremely negative. It's capital expenditure is responsible for an estimated R94.2bn or 4.4% of our GDP. It contributes 1.7% of the government revenue each year.
Approximately 90,000 people were directly employed in the industry and more than 600,000 employment opportunities could be directly or indirectly traced back to the production and sale of liquor.
Alcohol abuse in our country, however, is eroding our economy in many ways. The financial cost of harmful alcohol use alone was estimated at R37.9bn, or 1.6% of the 2009 GDP. The total cost of this escalating abuse exceeds our total healthcare budget.
Alcohol is a deadly drug that kills, decimates and destroys human lives. It has been proven that alcohol can increase your risk of diseases like liver, breast, bowel and other cancers. It can also increase your chances of developing cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx or oesophagus.
Alcohol, as it enters your stomach, is absorbed into your bloodstream. It plays a pivotal role in your stomach creating acid, which can cause your stomach lining to become inflamed, a condition called gastritis.
It is also a recorded fact that many people die each day in automobile accidents that involve a drunk driver. Driver intoxication and fatal crashes showed that drunk driving was estimated to cost our economy R18.2bn annually.
The financial cost of alcohol-related harms to the national economy was estimated at between R165bn to 236bn in 2009.It is indeed a weapon of mass social, financial and human life destruction, that must be ruthlessly brought under control.
Farouk Araie, Actonville, Benoni
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