Ghana used to be among the lowest consumers of alcohol per capita (APC) of about 5 litters, however, the situation had changed. The prevalence of alcohol consumption in Ghana now is around 26.8%. The total alcohol per capita consumption (in litters) was estimated to be 7.8 in men and 1.9 in women between 2008-2010 as compared to the 6.0 overall in the WHO Africa region. That is somehow lower than the 10.9L average consumption reported in the WHO European region. The type of alcoholic beverage consumed in Ghana include locally produced home-brewed beverages with very high alcohol strength and increased health and social consequences such as “Akpeteshie”. In Traditional African societies, alcohol was mainly consumed by male adults, while females and the youth were restrained from drinking; and excess drinking and intoxication attracted negative sanctions. Alcohol is known to have a casual relationship with about 200 health conditions worldwide accounting for more than 3.3 million deaths each year from injuries and accidents, most of which are preventable.
The Ghanaian youths (both males and females), especially those found in pre-tertiary and tertiary institutions had taken to alcoholic beverage abuse which ranges from beers (15% alcohol), wines (13% alcohol) and spirits (40% alcohol) rather than getting glued to their books. What had drawn a large number of those youths into such an irresponsible behaviour is the rampant increase in advertisements of these alcoholic beverages on television, radio and on several social media platforms. The phobia attached to these advertisements had made most of the youths, particularly of school going age, to be curious while those who had already gathered the mastery in drinking pressurize their peers to also indulge in such acts of which if care is not taken, the future will not be bright for Ghana. Those alcoholic beverage producers had the tendency to have convinced the populace through their frequent advertisements. Some go to the extent of convincing consumers that taking their products can serve as an appetizer that can help a person eat well and also perform better in bed during sexual intercourse; but further research had proven otherwise. Excessive and regular alcohol intake had led to serious health problems.
The use of alcohol that was originally intended to be used as pulverized antimony (a material used for Jewelry Crafting) for Arab women in making their eyelids dark had now turned into recreational use and so had made a lot of people, especially the youths to become addictive. More than 7 million people suffer from alcohol use disorder and one in four deaths can be attributed to that. The side effect of alcohol abuse may include; a weakened immune system, heart conditions ranging from abnormal heart rated to heart attack, mental confusion and brain damage. We all can attest to the fact that, humans need brains to function normally. I am stressing more on the brain because that is our all and all, and should we allow the youths to destroy their brains through alcohol abuse then what does the future holds for the country? Alcohol affects the brains ‘reward circuit”. This area of the brain affects instinct and mood. Brain damage may also occur through alcohol-induced nutrition deficiencies, alcohol-induced seizures and liver disease.
To save the situation and to help protect the youths, there is the need for all, to massively campaign against the intake of alcohol, especially on school campuses. I therefore call on Governmental Organizations, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Pre-Tertiary Scripture Unions (SU), Tertiary Campus Christian Fellowships (CCF) to join in the fight against the intake of alcoholic beverages on school campuses in order to save Ghana’s future.
By: Jerry John Campbell