By George Asekere
Alcohol the substance consumed freely by some people is fast assuming he character of deadly drugs. Some medics and religious bodies condemn the excessive intake of alcohol which is said to be on the increase in Ghana which may not be the leading consumers of the stuff. This article which was first delivered as radio commentary on Radio Ghana calls for concerted effort of the media, advertisers and the authorities to take steps to deal with alcoholism and its effect on the people and economy? of Ghana. now read on:
In one of Julius Caesar?s works,? Calphunia?, one of the characters stated and I quote ?when beggars die there are no comets seen” unquote. This perhaps explains the less seriousness we pay to victims of alcohol who are mostly financially handicapped.
According to the Dis-inhibition Theory, alcohol has a selective depressant effect on the brain particularly the parts that play a role in reasoning and judgment.
The net effect is that people under the control of alcohol sometimes act without thinking about the consequences of their actions.
On the other hand, the Alcohol Myopia Theory argues that people under the influence of alcohol respond quicker to cues and events around them whilst ignoring those that are far from them.
What is important however is that all the theories on alcohol agree that it has a deadly effect on the nervous system. If taken in small amounts, alcohol increases arousal; make people confident, less inhibited and more euphoric.
When taken in larger amounts, it induces depression, causes sleep disturbance and can lead to coma.
Health experts are unanimous the on the effects of alcohol which include minor ones like headaches to major ones such as slowness in the activities of neurotransmitters like glutamate and serotonin which affect learning and memory, heart failures and abnormal behaviours.
Inspite of these effects, the stimulant effect and sometimes deceitful adverts remain the main motivating factor for the increasing popularity of alcohol consumption. Alcohol affects the liver, pancreas and the entire cardiovascular system with women at a greater risk.
The sad aspect is that women who drink pass on the effects to the unborn child. In Ghana there is ample evidence of broken relationships, disintegration of families and untimely deaths as a result of alcohol.
Many lives have also been lost on the roads due to drunk driving. In his wisdom, the wisest king endorsed by God himself, Solomon wrote in Proverbs Chapter 20 that drinking too much makes one loud and foolish.
Unfortunately, Ghanaians on one hand condemn alcohol intake among children and at the same time demonstrate pictorially though falsely that alcohol is simply a sign of good living.
The various advertisements in the media continue to associate alcohol with beauty, success, love and worse of it all, an antidote to all sexual disorders.
The National Media Commission, the Advertisers Association of Ghana, the Food and Drugs Authority and other state agencies, which are supposed to correct this anomaly, look on helplessly.
It is said that what one does when drunk, he/she must pay when dry. This notwithstanding it is an indictment on us all to paint a picture that portrays our loyalty for monetary gains in these adverts at the expense of the potential dangers to society.
The laws of Ghana make it criminal for anyone to send a minor to buy alcoholic beverages or sell alcohol yet this practice goes on day in day out across the country. May be the time has come for the state to take a second look at how alcohol is dignified in the country.
It is pathetic that alcohol affects Ghanaian society every day, yet the talk about drugs seems to be centred on only cocaine. The question as to whether one drinks alcohol or not is immaterial because drinking has a trickle down effects on the entire society.
This makes it mandatory for all to help wage a relentless war against alcoholism. Many are those who have never taken alcohol , but have lost their lives from alcohol induced lorry accidents.
Those who drink in the hope of forgetting their worries or think alcohol is an antidote that soothe anxieties in the face of adversities and difficulties, must remember that drunken days have all their tomorrows, sometimes, with additional health hazards.
The law of sowing and reaping according to Kenneth Copeland is a kingdom law which subsequently governs the earth and all the natural or material matter. Adherents of Eastern religions call it the law of Karma whilst the Holy Bible calls it the Golden Rule.
It is therefore not our duty to judge anyone. One can only say that all things being equal those who have conditioned their minds to remain alcoholics are using unorthodox ways of trying to jump the death cue in life, of which every living being is patiently waiting for his or her turn.
They must make conscious efforts to quit or start preparing their wills, if any, because alcohol is certainly a hidden magnet that attracts anything to hasten death. Those with ears let them listen, for a word to the wise is enough.
BY GEORGE ASEKERE, A JOURNALIST