South Asia: Indian Health Minister Calls for National Alcohol Prohibition

Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss Wednesday called for alcohol prohibition, saying booze is the mother of all health problems. Ramadoss urged states to introduce prohibition and urged the creation of a national prohibitionist alcohol policy.

More young people are using alcohol, Ramadoss warned, citing statistics showing that the age of drinkers at the initiation of alcohol consumption had dropped from 28 to 13 ½ in recent years. He also blamed alcohol for rising death tolls from chronic disease.

"The four major risk factors which are directly or indirectly responsible for chronic non-communicable diseases are -- tobacco use, alcohol use, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet," Ramadoss said. "We need a national alcohol policy," Ramadoss said, urging states to introduce prohibition.

The minister added that so far only the states of Jammu & Kashmir and Gujarat had enforced prohibition. Gujarat, the birthplace of Gandhi, whose preaching of abstention continues to carry great weight, enforced alcohol prohibition as soon as Indian gained its independence from Britain in 1947.

Prohibitionist sentiment has historically been strongest in India's Northwest, where there are higher levels of alcohol and substance use and strong anti-liquor movements. States in other parts of India, such as the south, have since independence embraced partial prohibitions -- either days without drinking or banning of a particular beverage, usually arrack, a concoction made from sugar cane, fruit, or the sap of coconut palms.

Prohibitionist sentiment, however, has weakened in recent years, especially since India removed trade barriers in the early 1990s. Even in Gujarat, the state government now has crafted exemptions for economic development zones in an effort to boost foreign investment and job creation.

It looks like Mr. Ramadoss is fighting a losing battle.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Alcoholics should thank their gods drugs aren't prohibited...

Alcoholics should thank their gods drugs aren't prohibited... based on things like harm... but rather on social acceptance and political agendas!

So, just how genuinely dishonest are these drug abusing alcoholics anyway? It's so bad that they are still in the 'drug denial' phase... insisting that they are not drug addicts but alcoholics.

Hello dumpshits... alcohol is a drug and if you drink regularly you are a drug addict.

All those 'beer buzzers'... whether at the ball game, the race track, or on their sofa... are drug addicts pretending to be something else.

Addiction!

Although you seem to be right that many boozers are addicts, you label too many with the disease! Addiction ruins lives.

Alcohol consumers, who function normally, without any social or physical signs of maladjustment, are not addicts. Addiction, simply put, is compulsive use of the drug without regard to social, or physical, harms as a result of that compulsion. An addict gives up his entire life for his drug. That eliminates many people who are, erroneously, called addicts by society. That would include social drinkers and chronic intractable pain patients on opiates. But, there are, many, more examples, I am sure.

Over-Generalizing

Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, Your gross over-generalizations are not helpful. This is how much of the mess is created in the first place.

Also, trying to play "pin the tag" on a ton of people at once is bound to fail as not everyone who drinks regularly is a drug addict/alcoholic.

Clearly you have much anger towards alcohol. I suspect it's not due to alcohol, but how you have been treated by other humans.

The real problem is not some inanimate liquid, but a person's beliefs, a person's values. Alcohol, and even other substances, can merely amplify them.

If a man has contempt for women, or other races, then gets drunk. The problem is not the alcohol, but his views.

As before, education and getting to know others is usually the ticket to freedom.

In general, those who stew in their small perspectives, then try to force them on others (without letting others share theirs), are the problem, teetotalers or nor.

Alcohol Prohibition

As long as they don't try to understand the underlying issue(s) for why there is more drinking, or younger and younger drinkers, surely they will just repeat the foreseeable mistakes the US made in the early 1900s. I would say his "four risk factors" are more like associations than causations.

Taking a holier-than-thou approach and just trying to keep it out of people's hands is not the solution.

The best strategy is always to help citizens have the strength to discipline themselves instead of treating them like idiots who can't make good decisions. The more the powerful consider themselves the only ones capable making intelligent decisions, the more doom they face.

This hurts me. I really like India.

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