Juvenile Drinking On The Rise In Uganda

A survey has revealed that parents introduce alcohol to their underage children with 34 per cent saying they consume it in their homes.

81 per cent of the students revealed that they buy alcohol using money from fellow peers or adults while many attributed consumption to being idle. 63 per cent of the students also said they only take alcohol when it is available to them.

The baseline survey was carried out by Straight Talk Foundation (STF) in four districts of Adjumani, Soroti, Nwoya and Kitgum on 628 respondents including bar owners and teachers under the Red Card campaign meant to help reduce the high numbers of underage drinking.

According to Martha Akello, the mass media manager at STF, teachers who are meant to be role models end up being the ones who influence students to take alcohol instead.

The study found out that teachers teach under the influence. A good number of teachers claim they cannot teach without alcohol yet teachers are role models to these children,” Ms Akello said while releasing the results yesterday in Kampala.

She cited young boys in Adjumani district who were used by older rich men to get young girls and make them drunk before sexually assaulting them plus students in Kabale who smuggle alcohol in schools by dipping bread in alcohol to preserve it.

James Nsereko, the senior clinical psychologist at Butabika hospital said under age drinking is one of the leading cause of school dropouts and early sexual intercourse in teenagers below the age of 18 years.

Legislators have added voice to those calling on government to ban the sale alcohol packed in sachets.

The Youth MP for Western Region Gerald Karuhanga says currently Uganda has the highest rate of alcohol consumption per capita in the World, requiring government to take a decision to address the problem.

He says that although government needs taxes from the alcohol industry, it should also consider saving the lives of young people.

Uganda is considered one of the largest alcohol consumers in the world. The Global Status on Alcohol and Health 2014 indicated that 23.7 litres of pure alcohol are consumed per capita by drinkers annually in

Uganda followed by Rwanda and Burundi with each registering 22.0 litres per capita per year.
Gerald Karuhanga, the youth MP called for the arrest of sellers of alcohol to under age children plus the consumers as a way of reducing on the high numbers of underage consumption.