At least three million persons die globally as a result of harmful use of alcohol annually, according to the World Health Organisation, WHO.
Ironically, reports indicated that beer worth N599.11 billion was consumed by Nigerians within the past six months between January to June 2022, according to first quarter results of four major brewers in the country.
Industry analysis of revenue growth within January to June 2022 indicated that Nigerian Breweries, Guinness Nigeria, International Breweries and Champion Brew generated a combined N599.11 billion.
The turnover grossed by the four largest brewers in the country grew 31.2%, when compared to the N456.44 billion generated within the period under review in 2021.
However, experts warn that heavy alcohol consumption has increasingly become a preventable source of death, as Alcohol Use Disorder, AUD -a medical condition in which a person continues to consume alcohol despite the adverse health consequences, is on the rise.
Though the number of deaths in Nigeria occasioned by heavy drinking of alcohol could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report, dozens of persons including the young and old have reportedly lost their lives in 2022 alone due to alcohol abuse.
Recently, a 26-year-old man stabbed himself to death at a local bar in Kebbi State after getting drunk while merrymaking with a friend on Wednesday, August 10. Usman Aliyu who hailed from Matsinkai village in Bagudu Local Government Area of the State had reportedly visited a drinking joint popularly known as Mr. Okito’s Bar at Koko Town in Kebbi, North West Nigeria in company with a friend to hang out when he killed himself.
About 15 million people in the United States suffered alcohol use problem in 2019, according to the National Institutes of Health, NIH, just as acknowledging an alcohol dependency problem has been identified as the first step towards recovery.
Experts have listed cancer, heart disease, ulcers, gastrointestinal problems as well as immune system dysfunction as some potential health effects that may occur due to heavy drinking.
In the same vein, researchers have established that chronic alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer just as smoking can further increase the risk of developing cancers of the upper gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts as it is not uncommon for those who use alcohol to use tobacco.
Studies have also established a link between alcohol consumption and immune system function, indicating that heavy drinking can negatively affect the immune system by decreasing the number of immune cells and increasing the risk of infections.
While researchers said regular overconsumption of alcohol over many years may also lead to the development of alcohol–related brain damage, ARBD, a neurodegenerative condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which can cause vision problems, confusion, severe memory loss, among other health issues, they have also linked heavy alcohol consumption to the risk of acquiring pneumonia, tuberculosis and HIV.
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