Alcoholism Situation in Lao PDR
Reported by:Bouavanh SOUTHIVONG
1 5 November 2004
I. Drug Abuse situation in Lao PDRDrug problem and drug addiction throughout the world, and in our country as well, have caused several drawbacks by people life-style in the society.
In a developing country like Laos, main constraints to the socio-economic development are encountered, especially for ethnic groups living scattered in remote areas who are opium addicts.
I. Drug Abuse situation in Lao PDR (contd)
Moreover, the quick rise of Amphetamine-type-stimulant (ATS) throughout the country in these past recent years, either in rural or urban communities constitutes a big danger to all strata of Lao society, especially to school children, students and youth who will be responsible for the future of the nation, and to the labor force which is the backbone of the country.
ATS, opium, cannabis and other substance are very strict for consumption but not alcohol.
II. Alcoholism situation in Lao PDRAlcohol is one of the most substance of abuse but Lao legislation regarding alcohol prohibition is not available.
Easy accessibility to alcohol People can buy it easily at shops, markets etc...
It is observed that Lao beer is very popular among youth, especially students and employees.
Traditional Lao Alcohol (Lao Lao) is very strong with high concentration 40-50 degree. It is produced locally, not expensive and considered as one of the most popular alcoholic type among workers having low income.
Alcohol is consumed by villagers during any ceremony with friends and relatives (party, death, giving birth...).
Alcohol consumption is highly related to road accident due to lack of road safety respect (while drunk, people drive cars very fast and provoke road accident...)
Table 1: Causes of Road Accident related to alcohol consumptionNo Driving License = 53 cases High Speed = 20High Beam = 10Pass by = 16Dont keep Distance = 25Outside their rights = 41Violate traffic light = 01Incorrect crossing road = 02Alcohol drinking = 54
Source: Road Accident Reduction project, Vientiane Municipality, (24/12/03 - 23/01/04)
Table 2:Inpatients and Ambulatory patients at Mental Health Unit, 2000 - 2003
Table 2:Inpatients and Ambulatory patients at Mental Health Unit, 2000 2003 (contd)
General Statistics of Drug and Alcohol UsersThere were some studies on substance addiction based mainly on opium and ATS. Actually there are 28,000 opium addicts in the northern area of the country, mostly among elderly people. While ATS abusers are school population, labor force...
Survey on drug abuse among youth, in Vientiane capital, in 2000 showed that lifetime prevalence of any drug use was 5.3%. The most famous drug of choice among youth was ATS (Ya-Baa) with a ratio of 4.8%.
However, the specific survey on alcohol has not yet been carried out.
But there is a record of patients suffering from alcohol abuse, seeking treatment, at the Mental Health Unit that is shown in Table 3 and 4.
Table 3: The number of patients suffering from alcohol abuse, at the Mental Health Unit, Mahosot Hospital, 2000 - 2003
Table 4: Classification of Drug Users and Alcohol Users by Age, Mental health Unit, Mahosot Hospital, 2003
ConclusionBased on data in the Mental Health Unit
There is a significant difference on age:Drug users are young people aged from 15 - 19.While alcohol users are adult, aged above 25.
Male is more prone to drug or alcohol use than Female.