ANTARA FOTO/Mohamad Hamzah/foc.
The Indonesian Home of Representatives plans to draft a invoice that can criminalise the actions of manufacturing, promoting and shopping for, distributing, consuming and storing alcoholic drinks.
Nonetheless, a complete prohibition of alcohol as drafted within the Invoice (November final 12 months draft) is extremely problematic. Just lately, the parliament has modified the identify of the invoice from “prohibition” into “regulation” of alcohol and it’s a part of this 12 months’s listing of precedence laws.
Public well being dangers of alcohol prohibition
A complete alcohol restriction might carry its personal critical danger since extra folks might expertise sick well being or might die from methanol poisoning, a standard consequence of the manufacturing of illicit and informally produced alcohol that doesn’t meet high quality and security requirements.
Docs With out Borders and Oslo College have been monitoring world knowledge on methanol poisoning. They’ve monitored over 70 nations, together with India, Iran, Libya, and Indonesia, the place tough entry to alcohol leads to frequent incidents attributable to illicit and informally produced alcohol.
Some knowledge exhibit how in locations the place alcohol is prohibited or seen as controversial, there are greater incidents of methanol poisoning because of low consciousness on the hazard of constructing bootleg alcohol.
Typically, because of taboo and stigma, these experiencing methanol poisonings don’t instantly search assist for concern of criminalisation and stigma.
A complete ban on alcohol would additionally enhance incidents of alcohol smuggling and bribery; any monitoring technique for such commerce would trigger the federal government extra issues than the authorized commerce at the moment does.
If alcohol shouldn’t be absolutely prohibited, those that devour alcohol can have entry to raised high quality alcohol that’s protected to devour. Concurrently, the federal government might implement computerised monitoring of unlawful alcohol by figuring out suppliers and monitor the commerce.
We additionally want to notice that if the Invoice is handed with out an efficient medical and psychological technique, the Authorities may put these with alcohol dependency at critical danger of hurt from alcohol withdrawal signs.
Weighing the negatives
There isn’t a denying that that alcohol consumption can hurt our well being.
The WHO categorised alcohol as one of many main causes of most cancers, alcoholic liver ailments and, if consumed by pregnant ladies, might end in foetal alcohol syndrome.
Alcohol can be socially and economically damaging. Nations with excessive alcohol consumption see extra interpersonal violence and drunk-driving incidents.
Public well being objectives ought to cut back well being dangers from alcohol consumption that end result from overdosing, defending the well being of youngsters and susceptible folks, and serving to folks overcome addictions and keep away from unhealthy behaviours.
On the similar time, they need to minimise intrusive measures and keep away from extreme prison punishments.
You will need to observe that alcohol consumption shouldn’t be a standard life-style in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. Information from Indonesia’s Well being Ministry reveals that alcohol consumption in Indonesia is at a low charge of three.3% in 2018.
In comparison with the extraordinarily excessive tobacco use and the shortage of regulation round unhealthy meals and sugar-sweetened drinks, well being harm attributable to alcohol consumption in Indonesia may be very low, as monitored by WHO’s International Info System on Alcohol and Well being.
We’d like a robust regulation, not a complete ban
Quite than a complete ban on alcohol, the Indonesian Authorities ought to implement stronger alcohol laws based mostly on the WHO’s tips and proposals by way of the 2010 International Technique to Cut back the Dangerous Use of Alcohol.
The rules supply detailed choices on home insurance policies and methods, corresponding to proscribing promoting and advertising, banning alcohol sponsorship in sports activities and cultural occasions, and lowering the danger of consumption of illicit and informally produced alcohol.
A few of these interventions embrace proscribing the age of alcohol consumption and requiring suppliers or direct sellers to have commerce licenses has already been regulated.
The federal government might widen its interventions to incorporate:
giving sanctions to sellers in addition to any grownup people who give alcohol to minors,
widen necessities to acquire commerce license to on-line sellers,
mandate mandate pictorial warnings on alcohol packaging and ads – at the moment obligatory pictorial warnings solely apply to cigarette packaging,
instruct present license holders and candidates to take obligatory classes on social duty and well being consciousness of alcohol use, as regulated in lots of European nations,
increase the prohibition of alcohol promoting and promotion to digital media,
regulate the utmost blood alcohol focus of drivers in transport regulation with stronger punishments to those that are drink-driving. The transport police ought to be outfitted with breathalysers to permit them to observe these ranges.
While up to now Article 283 of the Transport Act 2009 regulates prison punishments on those that drive in a state of affairs the place they can’t absolutely focus, the Authorities can enact driving bans starting from a number of years to lifetime bans to those that drive or trigger accidents inebriated. In the meanwhile, there isn’t a regulation but on most blood alcohol focus.
On the neighborhood degree, the federal government might implement a well being technique by giving well being officers and neighborhood leaders coaching on counselling and medical assist and offering extra accessible cleansing and rehabilitation programmes for these with alcohol dependency.
Implementing evidence-based laws
Extreme use of alcohol is dangerous.
Nonetheless, the federal government ought to defend the inhabitants’s well being by implementing evidence-based, cost-effective laws by placing ahead consciousness and schooling on the antagonistic well being and social penalties of alcohol use and avoiding extreme criminalisation.
Citta Widagdo doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.