Saturday 22 February, 2020

Twice as many Bajan men as women use alcohol as their drug of choice

The National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) is fully on board with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition's push to work on addressing the use of alcohol by women and girls in Barbados especially, considering the picture statistics are painting.

The Barbados Drug Information Network (BARDIN) reports consistently show that alcohol is one of the top three drugs for which persons seek assistance from our local substance abuse treatment centres.

This statistic is but one reason why the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) closed off 2019 with a focus on alcohol use, especially among females. 

The Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day (CARD) 2019 at the end of last year put women, alcohol and the unique public health and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) linked to alcohol consumption among women under the microscope.

And the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) gave this move a nod, saying that the concentration aligns well with their programming thrust as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals focusing on issues of gender and their unique impacts and responses.

In a press release, the NCSA said that the picture of alcoholism is pervasive.

"The Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, 2018 (World Health Organization) states that in 2016 the leading contributors to the burden of alcohol-attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) among men were injuries, digestive diseases and alcohol use disorders. Among women, the leading contributors were cardiovascular diseases, digestive diseases and injuries."

According to the 2019 OAS/CICAD “Report on Drug Use In The Americas”, Barbados and Jamaica are two countries with cause for concern. In an analysis of alcohol use by sex, the OAS/CICAD report indicated that "the rate is higher among males in all countries, regardless of levels of use. Alcohol use is at least twice as high among males as among females in Barbados, El Salvador, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, and Suriname."

Furthermore, surveys conducted by Barbados' National Council on Substance Abuse show that alcohol is the most commonly used drug within the general population, as well as at the primary and secondary school levels. So, against this backdrop NCSA not only saluted the Healthy Caribbean Coalition for their direction and foresight to focus on our women and girls, but the NCSA has pledged to join them as they continue to explore policy options to reduce the harmful use of alcohol within this group.

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