Booze Abuse Costs Nation 200BN a Year
Excessive alcohol consumption is costing the country about 200 billion baht a year, Deputy Public Health Minister Punsiri Kullanartsiri says. The figure is based on damage costs and expenses arising from alcohol-related diseases and accidents which lead to deaths, injuries and disabilities.
Ms Punsiri said yesterday during the launch of an anti-alcohol campaign to mark National Alcohol-Free Day today that drinking was having a major impact on the economy, society and the quality of life of Thai people.
The campaign calls on people to stop drinking alcohol during the three-month Buddhist Lent and use the occasion to kick the habit. She said drink-driving was a major cause of road accidents and resulted in thousands of deaths, injuries and disabilities every year.
About 15 million Thais aged over 15 years drink, 12.7 million of them male. Drinkers aged between 15 and 24 account for about 2.3 million, according to a National Statistical Office.
The 2008 Alcohol Control Act bars the drinking of alcohol in temples or places used for religious rites, public health service locations, hospitals, government offices, schools and other places of education, and petrol stations.
The sale of alcoholic beverages is also banned on religious days. Violators who sell alcohol on these days risk a maximum of six months in prison and a fine of up to 10,000 baht.
Ms Punsiri said the government was tackling alcohol-related problems by preventing teenagers from drinking as a key element of its national health policy.
Studies show the potential health hazards linked to alcohol abuse include cancer, sexual dysfunction, road accidents and injuries.