CHIANG RAI – The number of drinkers in Chiang Rai and other northern provinces is on the rise on an annual basis, raising concerns over growing health and social problems.
The House Standing Committee on Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly, the Disabled and the Underprivileged Affairs revealed that six northern provinces, namely Chiang Rai , Chiang Mai, Phayao, Phrae, Lampang and Mae Hong Son, have been recording the highest number of regular drinkers in the country during the past years.
As most of the region’s drinkers belong to the teenage and working-age groups, the issue of alcohol abuse is often associated with accidents, brawls, driving offenses and unprotected sex. Alcohol is responsible for 1.8 million deaths around the world and has left approximately 58.3 million people with disabilities.
According to the committee’s report, the proliferation of homemade Thai rice whiskey or moonshine is unprecedented in the rest of the country. The addition of toxic chemicals, such as insecticide, by vendors also increases the health risks for drinkers.
The panel stated that related agencies need to collaborate on enforcing stricter rules on alcohol control on a local scale and to effect change in the nation’s alcohol policy. The implementation of strategic plans to solve the ongoing alcohol abuse in the North is expected to be in effect from September onwards.