Alcohol Concern Zambia (ACZ) is calling on the government to strengthen legislation to curtail the sale of high potent spirits commonly known as tujilijili or junta from the open market and the streets.
ACZ is concerned that the selling of these high potent spirits has become wide spread across the country and contributing to the high consumption of alcohol among young people, yet like any other alcoholic beverages, these high potent spirits are supposed to be sold from registered and regulated outlets in accordance with the Liquor Licensing Act Cap 17 of the Laws of Zambia.
Currently the Liquor Licensing Act is being flouted with impunity across the country and the selling of alcohol in the street is now being seen as normal and acceptable. This is detrimental to public health policy and the welfare of many young people and adults in the country taking advantage of the easy availability and access to buying these alcoholic beverages.
Current measures where council officers acting under the Liquor Licensing Act occasionally make swoops on street vendors and Kachasu brewers are unsustainable as they care often a one-off event conducted overtime and covering a limited geographical area.
To make matters worse, most councils and municipalities do not even have the requisite manpower to enforce such measures as a means to curtail illegal alcohol sales.
Adding to this concern is the proliferation of many different brands of high potent alcoholic beverages being sold on the market resulting in alcohol abuse becoming common place among the youth.
Alcohol abuse may lead many youth and young adults becoming alcohol dependent and exposed to mental health disorders including taking to alcohol induced aggressiveness and violence, criminal tendencies, self-harm and sometimes suicidal thoughts and attempts. Heavy drinking from an early age is also impacting young people’s ability to make rational decisions. Many well-endowed and talented young people have dropped out or abandoning their education or employment because of the impact of alcohol on their mental health.
The issue of alcohol abuse has left many parents and family members traumatized on seeing their children’s potential and prospects decapitate in front of their eyes while many marriages have broken up leaving children destitute.
The youth are particularly vulnerable to alcohol abuse and if this trend is left unchecked it has the potential to negatively impact on the country’s economic transformation agenda as the human resource (youths) to drive development would have been destroyed by alcohol abuse.