With several songs over the last few Crop Over seasons seemingly glorifying excessive alcohol consumption, one drug treatment centre has urged Barbadians to take the issue of alcohol abuse more seriously.
Director of Clinical Services at Marina House Angela Sealy said while alcoholic beverage manufacturers often urge consumers to “drink responsibly”, people must be aware of their own limits.
“Every individual is different. For example, some people might have one drink and they’re knocked out, but someone else might have ten and appear to be okay, but their faculties have already been compromised,” she said.
“One of the problems here is that we are so used to alcohol we do not give it a second thought; we do not realize that it is indeed a drug,” added the senior official at Marine House where women between the ages of 19 and 70 seek treatment for substance abuse.
Sealy was also concerned about parents introducing their children to alcohol, unwittingly or otherwise.
“When adults are drinking alcohol among children they would offer them a sip, or leave it lying around, and the children would take it up and drink it. Some time later, they may see the child lying around and think, ‘oh, they’re just tired’, but the child is actually drunk,” she said.
Meanwhile, a representative from Alcoholics Anonymous said he could not determine whether that organization was seeing a greater number of clients.
However, he stressed that it was “not in the business of stopping people from drinking alcohol”.
“All we say is that if you realize you have a problem with alcohol, come to us and we will help you. As we have always said, ‘if you drink and you enjoy it, that is your business. If you want to stop drinking and you don’t know how, that is our business’. We urge our clients to stay away from alcohol once they see it is having an adverse effect on their lives, and we have found over the years that our methods work.”