Liquor abuse, drinking dependence, and the liquor industry hinder sustainable development, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A WHO factsheet explained that these behaviors negatively impact several Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Those global goals were agreed upon by 191 member states in the 2015 United Nations General Assembly. The target is to achieve them by 2030.
SDG: End Poverty
Liquor abuse and drinking dependence contribute to the cycle of poverty. These behaviors can cause people to lose their jobs and source of income.
On the other hand, people who lose their jobs can turn to liquor abuse if it is prevalent. That can lead to the development of drinking dependence. That further prevents them from getting gainful employment.
SDG: End Hunger
In addition to causing poverty, liquor abuse causes dependent individuals to spend what little funds the family has on liquor. This leads to food insecurity.
Also, liquor abuse and drinking dependence tend to influence succeeding generations, prolonging the vicious cycle.
SDG: Ensure Health and Well-Being
Liquor abuse and drinking dependence cause a wide range of health issues including fetal alcohol syndrome. They cause deaths from cardiovascular diseases, digestive diseases, cancer, and both intentional and unintentional injuries.
They increase the danger of miscarriage, preterm birth, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. All of these add to the burden on the health system and the economy.
SDG: Ensure Quality Education
Children whose parents have drinking dependence can suffer abuse and neglect and be deprived of their right to education.
Exposure to such parents can also lead to the development of drinking dependence in children and teens. This affects brain development and can lead to academic failure, psychological problems, behavioral problems, violence, accidents, and death.
SDG: Ensure Gender Equality
Liquor advertisements often objectify women and young girls, contributing to gender stereotypes and discrimination.
Liquor abuse and drinking dependence also often lead to harassment, abuse, and violence against women and young girls.
SDG: Ensure Sustainable Management of Water
The liquor industry consumes water and turns it into a harmful beverage. In addition to the water content of liquor, a lot of water is also used in cleaning operations.
Many liquor production facilities are in areas where water is scarce. This is against the global goal to ensure water sustainability and availability for all.
SDG: Ensure Higher Economic Productivity
Liquor abuse and drinking dependence hinder economic productivity on many levels. They increase absenteeism and unemployment. They cause widespread chronic diseases that burden the economy. They also add to the burdens on law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
SDG: Reduce Inequality
Liquor abuse and drinking dependence increase social inequality. They cause more harm to people in lower economic groups.
There is also a difference across genders. Liquor abuse and drinking dependence occur more among men and at higher severity. The behavior of men toward women then worsens.
SDG: Reduce Violence
Liquor abuse and drinking dependence increase delinquency, aggression, and violent behavior. They are associated with domestic abuse, violence, and assault.
Liquor abuse and drinking dependence can lead to a number of negative health and social effects. These include liver damage, brain damage, heart disease, cancer, accidents, violence, and death. As a result, the WHO has made a number of recommendations to help reduce the harmful effects of liquor.
Interventions must be provided for individuals who have drinking dependence. Admission to a private rehab clinic or outpatient treatment both fit into this recommendation, depending on individual needs. Treatment can include psychological therapy and medical support.
The WHO also recommends that in addition to treatment, health and social services must provide programs to prevent liquor abuse and the development of drinking dependence.
To curb widespread consumption, the organization calls on countries to increase taxes on liquor. This will raise prices and put it further beyond the reach of many.
Availability can be controlled by reducing the number of liquor outlets, reducing the allowed hours of liquor sales, and enforcing a minimum age for liquor purchase and consumption.
The WHO likewise calls for a restriction on liquor advertising. Companies must also be required to include on their labels prominent information and warnings on the harmful effects of liquor.
Strict enforcement of laws against drinking-and-driving can lessen the number of road accidents and fatalities. Checkpoints can test the sobriety of drivers.
Removing This Hindrance to Sustainable Community Development
The liquor industry has a significant impact on sustainable community development. The harmful effects of liquor have been well documented by the WHO and other organizations. Liquor abuse and dependence can lead to a number of social ills and health problems that hinder economic productivity and progress.
To achieve sustainable community development, it is critical for communities to remove this hindrance. That will require a concerted effort on the part of individuals, families, governments, and the private sector. By working together, it is possible to create a world where sustainable community development is the norm.