By Alex Omari
Peer influence fuels negative health outcomes among young people where the activities are not channeled towards a positive angle. For boys in many societies, the definition of manhood is closely tied to employment. Young men who are unemployed feel a loss of power and identity and are at increased risk of intimate partner violence and alcohol abuse.
The World Health Organization estimates indicate that about 2.5 million people die annually, and many more succumb to illness and injury, as a result of alcohol abuse. WHO points out that alcohol affects younger generations more specifically from developing nations. Kenya was recently (late 2014) listed as a mid-income nation which is a positive measure of socio-economic development but the social aspect of youths interacting with the bottle still remains a tall order.
The 2014 report by Kenyan National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority (NACADA) says alcohol and drug abuse are the major social problems in the country, which is a major public health concern. The reckless consumers are non-other than the youths who do it either for pleasure or as a stress reliever to the unfortunate broken relationships.
During the Monday Special key interactive segment held on 2/2/2015 on Citizen Television, it was so evident that youths have a challenge regarding excessive alcohol consumption. Among the top reasons why they venture into alcohol abuse is due to either unhealthy relationships which deprives them the comfort or just meagre peer influence. “Excessive alcohol consumption” as it is put in many advertisements is harmful to someone’s health and to make the matters worse, it acts as a depressant and lowers brain activity .If consumed in excess, it will damages body tissues including muscles and brain cells and with severe intoxication it may lead into comma.
Its consumption causes a number of recognizable changes in behavior such that even in low doses it impairs judgment and coordination.
Abrupt withdrawal of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening if the drinkers don’t have a good schedule to their diet and dietary ingredients.
Sustainable livelihood programs are key in addressing youth’s vulnerability to alcoholism. This approach is not only a source of earning a living but it also pays greater attention to career training and skill development. The programs can take the form of Peer to Peer or Youth 2 Youth interactions in their normal day settings.
Connect via Twitter : @alexomari1