Binge Drinking Of Concern To Health Ministry

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Binge drinking is on the rise, says Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Joy St. John.

She was reporting on core findings of the Barbados Health of the Nation (HotN) Survey, during the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade???s Workplace Wellness Programme Workshop held at its Culloden Road, St. Michael headquarters.

???It isn???t just linked to Crop Over. It is now creeping into the way that young people have a rite of passage ??? men and women – heavy episodic (binge) drinking, the consumption of at least four to five alcohol drinks on one occasion,??? Dr. St. John said.

From the sample, Dr. St. John revealed that 15 per cent of adults over 25 self-reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. Recalling that a lot of the Crop Over songs were about consuming alcohol, she noted that the practice was ???really deep??? in our culture.

???Five per cent of women, 25 percent of men; so overall it is 15 percent. They are mainly incidents related to drunkenness, so you have people coming in who don???t know who they are, what they are doing and they are sick, and some of that then leads into the violence that has been creeping into our events.

???We are a rum and beer producing nation. We win awards for our alcohol and in public health circles; the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises that there are harmful limits but what we are encouraging is that you do not take a harmful, excessive amount and we are encouraging you not to drink and drive,??? the Chief Medical Officer stressed.

The HotN study, which was undertaken by the Chronic Disease Research Centre and the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI Cave Hill Campus, aimed to recruit a representative sample of adults (25 years and over). Data was collected from 2011 to 2013, from 1,234 participants ??? 764 women and 470 men.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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