Relatively few South Africans drink alcohol compared to people in other countries. Yet, those South Africans who do drink tend to drink far more and heavier than their global counterparts. Men are far heavier drinkers, and these patterns of drinking are set in late adolescence and early adulthood, while the brain is still particularly susceptible to toxins.
The national ban on the sale of alcohol, applied at various times during the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa, gave us glimpses of a better society: fewer trauma cases in hospital casualties, less domestic violence and less public money needed to offset the negative effects of alcohol abuse. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advocated for a number of policy measures based on the experience of countries that have reduced the social and economic damage of excessive alcohol consumption. These policy ‘best buys’ have been shown to be highly effective, feasible and implementable at low cost. Even a heavy-drinking country like Russia has shown that targeted interventions can work.
To learn more about how this can be done, DGMT has produced policy recommendations for sensible reforms that are cost-effective and feasible for South Africa.
Read the policy proposals here or by clicking on the cover image.