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26 May 2014

Steps to end alcohol abuse in SA

South Africa's social development department will use WHO data to try to end alcohol abuse. Individual South Africans consume an average of 8.2 litres of pure alcohol per annum.

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The social development department will use World Health Organisation (WHO) data and information to step up interventions against South Africans' "risky" alcohol abuse.

"The department... will use the data and information... to strengthen current interventions, as well as... to bolster future programmes to end alcohol abuse in South Africa," department spokeswoman Lumka Oliphant said in a statement on Friday 23 June.

The WHO global status report this month found that individual South Africans (15 years and older) consumed an average of 8.2 litres of pure alcohol per annum, which was well above the African continental average of six litres.

It found that an average of 2.9 litres of pure alcohol consumed in South Africa went unrecorded, potentially bringing the country's average consumption to about 11 litres per capita per annum.

Combating alcohol abuse

On the patterns of drinking, South Africa scored four – with one representing least risky and five representing most risky.

Read: Physical and psychological effects of alcohol

Oliphant said the department would take reasonable steps to combat alcohol abuse through the Central Drug Authority, an advisory body mandated to assist in the fight against substance abuse in the country.

The authority is the custodian of the national drug master plan 2013-2017, which aims to prevent and reduce alcoholism and its social and economic consequences in South Africa.

"Through the programme of action, government strategically aims to develop policy, review and align liquor legislation, educate and create awareness on substance abuse, promote equal access to resources across South Africa, [and] respond to policies and legislation..."

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