Alcohol is consumed by a large percentage of people in South Africa. The fact that it is legal (decriminalised), and that it is widely regarded as socially acceptable to drink, means that an overwhelming percentage of our population imbibes alcohol at one time or another. This places a large number of people at risk of alcohol addiction.
Again due to alcohol’s legality and relative acceptance in many cultural circles, many alcoholics are not forced into treatment until they have been drinking abusively for many years and already suffer from a number of severe alcohol-related health problems.
We need to make a distinction between the short-term effects of alcohol use (intoxication), and the longer-term damage that results from regular and often excessive use.