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The problem and awareness of liquor abuse in South Africa

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Purpose ‐ South Africa is among the world's highest levels of alcohol consumption per drinker. Liquor abuse is hence rampant and many drinkers engage in risky drinking regularly. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the problem of liquor abuse and seek to understand the degree to which respondents are aware of the alcohol problem in South Africa and whether they have experienced incidents of alcoholism, its impacts and in particular, the study seeks to determine the degree to which minors are exposed to liquor. Awareness of the seriousness of the problem is crucial to finding a lasting solution to it. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper conducted a survey in five provinces of the socio-economic aspects of liquor abuse. These are Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal (KZN), Mpumalanga and Western Cape provinces. The paper intends to address whether there are: differences in liquor abuse between experiences of demographic (racial) groupings per province; differences in the knowledge of alcohol-related activities and impacts per province; and differences in exposure of minors to liquor-related violence per province. Findings ‐ South Africans are generally aware of the liquor abuse problem and many have had personal experiences or know family members who have had personal experiences. Liquor abuse is associated strongly with negative social activities in the country. Among occupational groups, administrative officers in Gauteng and Mpumalanga are significantly associated with being transported by drunk drivers. Drinking at work is significantly associated with professionals in KZN. Originality/value ‐ There are few studies that examine issues related to the problem of liquor abuse and the awareness of its seriousness. The findings could assist in understanding how to target education campaigns to inform the public of the problem of liquor abuse.
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Keywords: Alcoholism; Social problems; South Africa

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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