LEPHALALE — “Alcohol abuse leads to crime” was one of the topics that was discussed during the meeting of the Lephalale Community Safety Forum on Thursday 20 April. It was reported that alcohol abuse is part of three quarters of all reported crime cases. This includes cases of assault, GBH, murder, sexual offences, road accidents and domestic violence.
The Limpopo Provincial Government’s Department of Community Safety says in a brochure about liquor abuse that it contributes to 99% of cases reported to the SAPS.
Alcohol abuse is described as “a pattern of drinking that result in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships or ability to work”.
It is difficult to tell the difference between social drinking, moderate drinking and alcohol abuse, but the abuse of alcohol always comes down to one key point: drinking that causes problems in the person’s life and the life of others.
Alcohol abuse often leads to various social problems which include; babies born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS); educational or academic difficulties; health related problems, draining of financial resources, emotional or relationship stresses, increase the risk of violent or criminal behaviour and it increases vulnerability of victimization.
The rule of drinking and driving is simple – don’t do it. It is a proven fact that your driving is impaired after even one unit of alcohol, so it is safer to not drink at all when you know you will be driving. Driving under the influence is a criminal offence and it only takes one point over the limit to seal your fate – which could mean up to six years in prison.
In South Africa, the legal limit is a breath alcohol content of 0.24 mg per 1 000 ml, or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05 g per 100 ml.
The rule of thumb is a maximum of one unit of alcohol per hour, which constitutes 10 ml of pure alcohol, based on an adult weighing 68 kg. A human body can process only one unit of alcohol each hour.
In layman’s terms, one unit of alcohol represents two thirds of a beer or spirit cooler with 5% alcohol content. 75 ml of red or white wine per hour with an alcohol content of 12% to 14%, 25 ml of whiskey or brandy per hour.
There are no quick fixes. Drinking coffee to get sober is a myth, as is taking a cold shower or drinking a litre of water. Once the alcohol is in your system your liver needs time to process it and restricting yourself to only one unit per hour will give your body the time it needs to stay sober in the eyes of the law.
Alcohol significantly slows down reaction time and it distorts your vision and the effects of a heavy night of drinking could well affect your driving ability the next morning – you may still be over the legal limit.
After only one unit of alcohol, your chances of being in an accident are doubled and when you are at the legal limit of 0.24 mg, you are four times more likely to be in an accident.
Crime helpline numbers:
SAPS Crime Stop 08600 10111; www.crimestop.cp.za or SMS tip-offs to 32211