BY Lumbiwe Mwanza
A self-confessed former alcohol addict Aston kuseka has advised the government to facilitate for a national indaba on alcohol abuse in order to address the scourge.
According to the WHO health report of 2014, alcohol use disorders among Zambians above 15 years of age, including alcohol dependence and harmful use of alcohol, is 7.9 percent of the male and 42 percent of women are heavy drinkers.
Mr. kuseka explained that alcohol abuse behaviours among citizens especially the youths will be difficult to address if no deliberate strategy is put in place.
“You see alcohol consumption is slowly becoming a trend in our communities and if left unchecked Zambia might have wasted generations,” mr kuseka said.
He said holding a national indaba to bring together health experts, civil society organizations, policymakers as well as citizens fighting alcohol addiction challenges, will help create sanity and reduce the rate at which alcohol is being consumed among the youths.
He observes that efforts by the government and various stakeholders to promote productivity among the youths are being undermined due to excessive beer consumption.
“nowadays it is shocking that youths in communities are found drunk along streets as early as 07:00 hours in the morning, meaning the whole day they will be having naps” mr kuseka lamented.
He observes that Zambian youths have the capacity to contribute to national development however alcohol abuse continues to be a hindrance.
Mr kuseka further noted the need to increase specialized counselling services to deal with various challenges relating to alcohol abuse.
“Through prayers, I was lucky to have overcome my addiction, but for those that cannot pray for themselves they need counselling services,” mr kuseka said.
He said being an alcoholic is difficult and requires specialized help .mr kuseka added that those people that have managed to overcome the addiction needs to work together to encourage others.
He further disclosed his plans of conducting a countrywide campaign against alcohol abuse to help others that are still struggling with the habit.
“I am in the process of conducting a countrywide campaign against the vice which will be called ALCO-WAR, meaning war against beer,” he said.