A recent study, sponsored by the South African Medical Research Council, found that the government’s decision to ban and/or limit the sale of alcohol during four different periods during the Covid-19 lockdowns has affected South African alcohol consumption. Africa among the heavy episodic drinkers (HED) actually worsened. less or no difference between moderate drinkers.
The survey published in the MDPI Journal was conducted online on nearly 800 participants classified as HED, with more than 60% of men and 43% of women falling into the category.
The South African government classified alcohol as a non-essential product and banned the sale and transport of alcohol for a total of 161 days during four different periods from March 27, 2020.
According to the government, this was done to increase the availability of hospital beds, but the study found that “illicit alcohol sales suddenly increased to meet the population’s demand for alcohol,” and alcohol consumption worsened.
Reasons given for consuming more alcohol as restrictions increased and decreased, which were significantly more common for the HED group than for the moderate drinking group, were, in decreasing order, feeling stressed, helping them relax, feeling bored , have more time to consume alcohol with their household, and not have to wake up for work/study,” reads part of the study.
It stated that people who were moderate drinkers consumed less or the same amount of alcohol
“The reasons given for consuming less alcohol as restrictions increased and decreased, which were significantly more common for the moderate drinking group, were that ‘it was more difficult to obtain alcohol while going out was restricted and while the shops were closed” and that she “had not been able to socialize, go out or go to a bar”. The sense that the restriction period was a good time to reduce how much they drank was found to have a significantly higher frequency, as restrictions tightened only for moderate drinkers.
Alcohol restrictions and prohibitions appear to be less effective
While the study found that alcohol restrictions and bans were less effective or not at all, but worsened, the National Liquor Traders Association (NLTA), which has spoken out against the restrictions and bans since its inception, has described the move as nothing less. than a “blunt” object that aimed to accelerate poverty.
“We have always believed that banning or restricting the sale of alcohol is nothing more than a blunt object whose success will only accelerate poverty among liquor dealers who have been barred from participating in the drug trade by these unjustified bans. economy,” according to NTLA. covenant Lucky Ntimane.
“Ultimately, the result of the sales restrictions and bans is that it has prompted people to look elsewhere for alcohol and when they resort to stockpiling and this led to a much higher pattern of consumption leading to an increase in alcohol abuse.
“In addition to the unintended consequence of the ban giving rise to a much higher pattern of consumption, an alternative market, albeit an illegal one, has now become a R20 billion per year according to the Euromonitor report,” explains Ntimane.
This study concluded that people classified as heavy episodic drinkers respond differently to the effects of emergency situations and accompanying policies that induce anxiety and stress.
“Policies designed to increase alcohol pricing, such as the WHO strategy of increasing excise taxes and minimum unit prices, have the potential to reduce alcohol consumption in times of crisis,” it concluded.