In following our previous post on the drug problem in South Africa.
South Africa is often described as “one of the world’s heaviest drinking nations”. The fact that the World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks South Africa in only 55th place out of 189 countries is not an indicative to the true scale of the disease in our country. WHO data is provided mostly by governmental organizations which have biased interest in alcohol regulation and taxation. Certainly between both sexes South Africa are the lead alcohol consumer on the African continent by capita.
In the independently edited list of alcohol consumption per capita from wikipedia South Africa ranks within the top 20 consumers of alcohol per capita.
How much of this consumption is “problem drinking” considering our large non-drinking Muslim populations it would be relatively safe to assume that South Africa is one of the heaviest per capita consumers of alcohol in the world and that the impact of local alcohol abuse is far worse than the USA infographic image depicts.
In 2003 it was understood that 1 in 4 South Africans suffered from a substance addiction of some sort.
However, less than 1% have immediate access to any form of addiction treatment service.
Over 60% of South Africa’s alcohol industry income is drawn from from alcohol abuse. None of this income is spent on alcohol addiction treatment.
Currently substance abuse in South Africa kills more people each year than HIV/AIDS.
Government in South Africa refuses to admit the scale of the alcohol abuse epidemic as they draw significant tax income funds from the alcohol industry.
Current local stats on alcohol abuse and recovery are not conclusively available to the public for the following contributing reasons.
- Anonymous groups are, well anonymous, autonomous, (don’t track independent personal data).
- Private recovery clinics do not share their success / failure rate information nor are they obligated to.
- General public information void from governmental institutions in South Africa. (after 2003)
So as the gap in our understanding of alcohol abuse in South Africa widens, we have started working on several side projects based off the information sources that we have gathered to-date.
Overtime we hope to build more conclusive local data but for the interim and just to get an understanding on how deeply this drug impacts society please have a look at the image sequence below of alcoholism treatment in the US.