Calls for More Alcoholism Rehab Centres

With only one state-owned rehabilitation centre in the country for those fighting the demons of alcohol and substance abuse there is a need for additional ones as alcohol consumption in Namibia continues on an upward spiral.

In its report on alcohol abuse in the country, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social and Community Development says there has been an escalation in alcohol consumption among youth, mainly induced by mental stress from unemployment and general boredom, among other social problems.

The report says there is an increase in the number of illegal shebeens, highlighting that in 2012 in Windhoek alone there were only 540 legally registered shebeens of 1 540 operating shebeens.

However, the report says the sale of alcohol is the only source of income for many families and as such there is a need to develop a strategy that supports the development of non-alcohol related income-generating activities.

“There is enough evidence that the level of alcohol consumption in Namibia is high. Alcohol is a social problem which negatively impacts not only the individuals concerned and their families, but the society as a whole,” says the report tabled last week by the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social and Community Development, Agnes Tjongarero.

The report recommends: “There is a need to establish more rehabilitation centres and social workers to assist the victims of alcohol abuse.”

Currently Etegameno Resource and Rehabilitation Centre near Brakwater is the only state-owned treatment centre for those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction in a health sector where privately owned rehabilitation centres, such as Okonguarri Psychotherapeutic Centre situated south-east of Outjo and the Telecom Namibia-owned Nova Vita Rehabilitation Centre in Windhoek charge as much as N$20 000 for a month’s treatment, a prohibitively exorbitant fee for the unemployed.

The report also recommends that homemade or informally produced alcoholic beverages be inspected and regulated to ensure that they do not contain dangerous ingredients that are a health risk to consumers. Selling homemade liquor does not require a licence if the liquor has an alcohol content of less than 3 percent.

The report directs that to curb the mushrooming of shebeens, all illegal shebeens should be closed down and no shebeens should be allowed to operate within 200 metres from each other outside the municipal economic buffer zone.

Source : New Era