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Alcohol Ban Helped Lower Hospital Trauma Admissions Print

Professors Richard Matzopoulos (University of Cape Town) and Charles Parry (Stellenbosch University) have countered criticism against the alcohol ban in South Africa. Herewith key extracts from their article:

… any reduction in alcohol availability reduces harms…
What seems to have become clear from various media reports is the resumption of liquor sales in the first days of Level 3 lockdown has in fact played a substantial role in the resurgence of trauma admissions across the country...
The drop in cases coming into South African casualty wards during levels 4 and 5 was substantially greater at around 65%, according to our modelling, which is currently under review. We believe this is most probably due to the cumulative effect of alcohol restrictions alongside social distancing and less vehicular traffic.

Moreover, the effect of sales restrictions in isolation was clearly shown in the week preceding the lockdown. With a partial restriction on alcohol sales until 18:00 there was already a marked decline in non-natural death across the country.
But this ignores the fact that harm per litre of alcohol sold is higher among the poorer sectors of society - despite the fact people in poorer communities are less likely to be drinkers as research has repeatedly shown, including a recent review published in The Lancet.

These poorer sectors of society are therefore also more likely to experience greater reductions in alcohol-related illnesses and deaths with reduced consumption.

…. a BMC Medicine study that ascribe[d] 62 300 deaths per annum to alcohol and costing estimates of a 2014 South African Medical Journal study that ascribe a loss to the local economy of 10% to 12% of GD[P] annually. ….

Although a little less than a third of adult South Africans drink alcohol, almost six out of 10 drinkers engage in binge drinking, the WHO reported in 2018.


SANHA Comments:

We thank Allah who has guided us away from the harms of intoxicants. The facts that people of knowledge discover, only serve to make us appreciate the beauty of our faith even more, but we obey Allah whether we understand His command or not.
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