Wednesday, January 7, 2009


More women drinking beer
Nadira Gunatilleke

Beer consumption by Sri Lankan women have gone up significantly during the recent past, Dr. Neil Fernando, Consultant Psychiatrist, Angoda Mental Hospital said.

The companies which sell beer had launched a publicity campaign to attract more Sri Lankan women to drink beer, he said.

Twenty five per cent of male patients admitted to the Colombo National Hospital within one year had died from alcohol related diseases. "One in every four men died from a sickness caused by alcohol," he said.

Dr. Fernando was addressing the launch of 'An Islandwide Study on Alcohol Use in Sri Lanka' authored by Prof. Harendra de Silva on behalf of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA).

The study was sponsored by Plan Sri Lanka.

"Today all family functions are 'alcoholised' and we should not let this continue.

We should not ignore the violence by drunkards and should not forgive them, taking their drunkenness as a reason," he added. According to Prof. de Silva, it is the people who have the lowest income who consume more alcohol and it is kasippu they consume most of the time. The more they consume Kasippu the more they become destitute.

This has become a vicious circle. More suicides are reported among persons who consume alcohol and also members of their families. The poor drink Kasippu in large quantities because it is cheap.

The people who drink Kasippu misbehave more than persons who drink other varieties of alcohol.

This is due to their social background and culture, he said.

Prof. de Silva said almost all children who took part in the study demanded a solution for their alcoholic fathers. Suicides are common among children who suffer at the hands of alcoholic fathers and single parent families are one of the commonest result of alcohol abuse.

The families did not know how much fathers spend on alcohol.

"Banning alcohol will not solve the problem. What is required is control. Poverty eradication is the best way to minimise alcohol abuse. Handing over food and money will encourage people to consume more and more alcohol without engaging in work.

The poor people should be empowered and given vocational training to eradicate poverty," he added.

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