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Alcohol, an escape from reality

Maseru, Feb.12 — Unemployment, sicknesses, divorce, finances, loss of loved ones are some of the things that most people can’t bear, hence resorting to alcohol to ease the pain and accept life as it comes.

In the midst of these there is also peer pressure, boredom and affordability which lead others to alcohol indulgement.

With the majority of people, young and old, drinking alcohol at home, nightclubs, public bars, parks and the so-called ‘chillas’, some think it is the only solution to drink their sorrows down yet it is not a solution to others
because once they become sober,  reality sinks.

Although it might be a life pill to some people, alcohol has cost and affected lives of many, either through car accidents, alcohol related diseases, rape, jail time for others and bankruptcy.

A 35-year-old Makhotso Mohloai, who is a single mother narrates how she became a widow after his husband’s vehicle collided head on with the other and claimed his life, saying life has never been easy since her loss because her husband was a bread winner.

” Six months after I buried my husband, I always locked myself in the bedroom, i guess it was depression” she sighed, adding that it was difficult to face people as she is unemployed, with two children and it is hard to pay their
school fees, not to mention putting food on the table.

She said one day she decided that she was going to take alcohol as she needed to mob the pain, and she spent her last M100.00″; I felt good because I forgot about my sorrows”; she smiled, saying she cannot survive without alcohol as it helps her to “cope’’.

Thibello Shoai, a 58-year-old man from Marabeng said he has been drinking alcohol for the past 25 years and will never stop now, saying it gives him a sense of belonging, and takes him to a place where he forgets about the world
and his problems.

He said he drank alcohol due to peer pressure in his early twenties just because he wanted to fit in but it has now become a habit, saying he never bothered to go for rehabilitation as it gives him comfort when he is
overwhelmed by his problems. 

One of the parents, Mr. Samokelo Lerata who saw his son’s future destroyed because of alcohol said the rate in which people are consuming alcohol is a testimony that these are trying times that need God’s intervention.

He indicated that his son, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning  graduated 10 years ago and has since been doing part time or piece jobs with little income.

” It hurts as a parent to see my child drinking alcohol because of depression because he has never had a decent or permanent job” he said, saying he wishes people could seek God, surrender all to Him because the world will never give them the peace they need.

He also said lack of services from the government could be a contributing factor as the young generation is depressed due to the high rate of unemployment, poverty and economic meltdown.

“We invested in the education of our children but there are no jobs, each year thousands of youth graduate at local and international institutions but do not have jobs” he bitterly said.

Also interviewed was Former Blue Cross Director, Mr. Thabo Mokhuts’oane who said it has been four years since the institution, which rehabilitated drug addicts closed, saying this is indeed a long time based on the high rate of
alcohol and drug abuse in the country.

He said the institution made a positive impact towards addicts as it created a platform for them to talk freely without stigma, saying many returned to their workplaces, families and academic institutions after rehabilitation.

However, he said some relapsed for various reasons, despite the Centre’s efforts of engaging families for support after the rehabilitation process.

He also confirmed that some people smuggled drugs and alcohol during rehabilitation and their patients would be tempted because of cravings.

Road Safety Officer Mr. Setsoto Putsoa said majority of road accidents are caused by drunkenness as alcohol causes impaired motor skills, less concentration, slow reaction times, decreased vision and poor judgement.

He clarified that Section 92 of Road Traffic Act of 1981 is clear regarding drunken driving, saying to find the amount of alcohol they usually use breathalysers and when the reading exceeds 100 milligrams for 100 millilitres of blood,
they take perpetrators to task as it is an offence.

However he said the law is silent about those below 100 milligrams saying there is need to amend this law to ensure that action is taken against motorists who are found drunk regardless of the amount of alcohol detected. 

Rev. Tumelo Kholoane of African Methodists Episcopal (AME) Church said alcohol and church is one of the controversial topics because even Christians do not understand whether it is a sin or not as a number of verses in the Bible indicate that there was always wine where there was a feast, even during Easter.

He quoted a couple of verses, citing the scripture where Jesus Himself turned water into wine at a wedding, where it was used as medicine and where great men of God who drank alcohol lost power.

Rev. Kholoane therefore said it is a pity that the majority of people nowadays find comfort in alcohol whenever they face different challenges. “Resorting to alcohol is a temporary solution which might even cause more problems,” he added.

Criminal activities such as rape, murder, domestic violence and house breaking are usually results of alcohol abuse, as perpetrators might need “dutch courage” to carry out their heinous acts, this is according to the Officer
Commanding Mabote Police Station, Superintendent Molefe Mafaufau.

Suprt. Mafafau said these activities are usually reported at the police station and the main source is alcohol, saying another challenge they are faced with is that of liquor outlets which fail to close on time stipulated on
their licences. 

“This encourages people to drink 24 hours around the clock, which is not acceptable,” he stressed.

He said the Police Station has been working tirelessly to bring owners of liquor outlets to book, appealing to them to comply with their trading licenses in a bid to combat crime because criminals have a tendency of engaging in
crime prior or after drinking alcohol from such outlets.

Lesotho Mountain Brewery Corporate Affairs Manager Mrs. Mapulumo Mosisili said the company tries as much as it can to encourage liquor outlets to sell alcohol to those eligible, that is persons above the age of 18.

“What we do is to encourage liquor outlets to abide by law”; she said, adding

that they always provide guidelines on the use of alcohol, such as warning the society not to drink and drive or sell alcohol to minors.

On the other hand, Anti Drug Abuse Association of Lesotho (ADAAL) Founder and Director Mrs. Mphonyane Mofokeng said alcohol affects the health of people who drink it, from the mouth throughout the digestive system as it affects enzymes working on digestion.

She indicated that alcohol is not digested like other food as it goes straight to small intestines, liver and the brain.

” Wherever it passes, it causes sores, commonly known as ulcers””she said, adding that when a person has developed ulcers due to alcohol, they go to health centres and are urged to stop drinking it.

“Alcohol being expensive as it is, people find themselves also paying for health services yet they don’t even need and can avoid it ” she said.

She therefore warned people to refrain from drinking alcohol so that they could live longer as it costs lives in different ways.

Meanwhile the Agency has learnt that most of the youth including teeagers consume alcohol at a high rate in nightclubs and bars  among other places while adults drink more in festive season.

The Agency has alo leanrt that there is case at courts of law whereby a man is accused of rape, and intoxation appears to be a contributing factor in this matter.

According to the latest World Health Organisation data published in 2020, alcohol deaths in Lesotho reached 71 or 0.21 percent of total deaths. The age adjusted death rate is 4.54 per 100,000 of population ranks in number 21 in the world.


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