ALCOHOLISM  --->   TASMAC   --->   TRIBULATIONS

ALCOHOLISM ---> TASMAC ---> TRIBULATIONS

“Alcoholism, now known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition in which a person has a desire or physical need to consume alcohol, even though it has a negative impact on their lives”. From being called as alcoholics, they are now being referred as a person who has alcohol use disorder (AUD). This is because of problem of drinking that becomes severe. They become so habituated to this drinking that they don’t even know when and how, to stop drinking, quantity consumption  is not  in their control, even if it is at the cost of serious problems at home, work, financially. Moderate consumption does not give rise to psychological or physical harm, but for those who enjoy social drinking when they increase their consumption, or start to consume regularly, it’s just then AUD sets in.

Analysing the symptoms, causes and possible risk factors, the symptoms are the following, drinking alone or in secret, no limits on the consumption, frequent black outs and not remembering the time, day, consumption throughout the day at, before, at and after meals, during office work because of which there is constant irritability, losing interest In hobbies, always think and have the drinking urge, when the time comes to drink and there is no availability of alcohol, storing in unlikely places, gulping down the drink for a feel good factor, relationship problems at home, office and outside world which stems from drinking, need more and more alcohol for that heady feeling always, when not drinking the person/s always feel sweaty, nauseating, shakiness of hands. They tend to be impulsively compulsive.

These symptoms’ cause, one, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain and secondly, glutamate. GABA, controls impulsiveness and glutamate stimulates the nervous systems. Apart from these two DOPAMINE levels in the brain rise after consuming alcohol. This makes the drinking experience more gratifying and make them indulge more and more.

The risk factors are,

1.       GENES, it is found that drinking nature comes as a genetic factor.

2.       AGE OF THE FIRST ALCOHOLIC DRINK, research has found that when children before 15 start consuming alcohol they do have this problem later too.

3.       EASY ACCESS, When the alcohol is made cheaper, the access to it is easier than, when it is made pricey with tax and other factors.

4.       STRESS, some stress hormones are linked to the alcohol abuse and when a person has high level of stress and anxiety he or she tends to be consuming more to blank out the upheavals in their minds.

5.       PEER DRINKING, what starts as of an irregular habit would eventually turn out to be an excess issue because of the company they keep and later would rise to alcohol related problems.

6.        LOW SELF ESTEEM, people who have this attitude and with easy availability of alcohol start to consume heavily.

7.       DEPRESSION, this is by itself a self–treatment drink for those with depression may use alcohol deliberately or unwittingly without realising the fact that over dosage of alcohol by itself leads to depression, rather than reduce it.

8.       MEDIA AND ADVERTISING, wrongly projecting that drinking alcohol is a feel good factor and excessive drinking is acceptable, shown glamorously, as though it is the worldliest, cool activity.

9.       BODY’S PROCESS, people who consume more alcohol to achieve an effect are those who later start having more health problems related to alcohol.

 

This being on one side, the other side is the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) has the monopoly over wholesale and retail vending of alcohols in Tamil Nadu, it also controls the Indian Made Foreign Liquor in the State. Despite the prohibitions’ laid on and off but TASMAC came into full force in 2003 making them the sole retail vendor of alcohol in the State. The structure is, 5 southern regions are there Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Salem operating under a Regional Manager and further divided into 33 districts run by district managers. As of 2010, there were 6800 liquor outlets throughout the State with 30,000 employees though not considered as Government employees and they don’t get any benefits too.

 

GROWTH AS IN REVENUE:

Annual Revenue of TASMAC

 

Fiscal Year

Revenue in Crores (₹)

% Change

 

2002–03

2,828.09

 

2003–04

3,639

 28.67%

 

2004–05

4,872

 33.88%

 

2005–06

6,086.95

 24.94%

 

2006–07

7,300

 19.93%

 

2007–08

8,822

 20.85%

 

2008–09

10,601.5

 20.17%

 

2009–10

12,491

 17.82%

 

2010–11

14,965.42

 19.80%

 

2011–12

18,081.16

 20.82%

 

2012–13

21,680.67

 19.91%

 

2013–14

23,401

 7.93%

 

2014–15

26,188

 11.91%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Impact of such outlets though has definitely brought in revenues, which was spent on welfare schemes. An increase in sales through these outlets has definitely decreased deaths in people consuming illicit liquor. But this monopoly has led to adulteration, corruption, over pricing, black marketing in the retail outlets. Having these retail outlets in residential areas, near hospitals, place of worship has definitely seen oppositions and protests from the general public and those retails outlets either have been shifted to another place or closed because of the misbehaviour and noise of drunken brawls.

The COMPLICATIONS that arise of such alcoholism are fatigue, memory loss, weakening of eye muscles, liver diseases, gastrointestinal complications, hypertension, heart problems, diabetes, disruptive menstruation, erectile dysfunction, foetal alcohol syndrome, thinning of bones, nervous system problems, cancer, accidents, domestic abuse, work, school related problems, suicide, mental illness, getting into law and order problems because of drunken driving.

 

REMEDIES AND SOLUTIONS

Alcoholism is a behavioural, social and societal evil which has to be remedied on war footing. The remedies for these people are very many provided they have the will and strength to come of the problem on their own rather than the compulsions of others in the family because there is a possibility of them going back to the old alcoholic self. Unless and until Government thinks and acts, for the best of peoples’ health and longevity, no solution can be brought permanently.

1.       In a given area where youngsters are more and consume alcohol we can request the HEALTH EDUCATION interventions in that area, to talk on the negative effects of alcohol consumption, the area can be even a slum area.

2.       RESTRICTIONS, on the sale of alcohol can reduce the consumption. If this cannot be stopped then this has to be implemented to its fullest. Decreasing the number of retails wine shops and restricting the sale of quantity to the consumers, increasing the tax on the alcohol can bring about a change.

3.       BAN ON SALE OF ALCOHOL, would be an ideal situation, permanent closure in the rural areas would be very beneficial but all this would need the State’s support.

4.       PROOF OF IDENTITY for age should be asked for, when the sale is made to a person below 21 years of age.

5.       LICENSE should be procured for people who want to buy liquor at the TASMAC, so that no one can buy LIMITLESS liquor to their whims and fancy but there would be a ration on consumption.

6.       REHABILITATION AND COUNSELLING CENTRES, should be opened more in the cities and rural areas. This would help them to change their behaviour toward health to lead a healthy life.

7.       DETOXIFICATION CENTRES along with rehabs should be opened for the alcoholically affected people.

8.       From the FAMILY SIDE more love, care and understanding is needed to these people as they are not in control of themselves and only their near and dear ones have to be supportive.    

9.       TT Ranganathan clinical Research (TTK HOSPITAL) was founded in the year 1980 with a desire to help people struggling with addiction to alcohol in Chennai.

10.   ALCOHOLIC ANANYMOUS, they can participate in their meetings and there will be group discussions which would make them open up with what exactly made them an alcoholic and how they want to come out of it.

11.   There are many rehabs in Chennai, surprisingly most of the people who have started it would have an alcoholic himself and would have been corrected to the normal ways of living sans alcohol, who can really help the alcoholics.

12.   Yoga, Meditation and good food habits can definitely change their way of thinking to be a normal person.

13.   Job opportunities, spending of their time in useful way, where some skill sets can be taught while in rehab can retrieve them from going back to the old habits.

14.   Film personalities can be asked to campaign, canvass for the cause of alcoholism and the bad effects of its consumption so the reach would be effective.

 

TASMAC shops have declared holiday on the Wednesday, 21st of November on the eve of Milad-Un-Nabi, the irony is that, these shops were open on Diwali day which saw an all-time sale of whopping 330 crores on the previous day to Diwali and Diwali day alone. People throng on Saturdays, their weekly wages day, to blow all the hard earned money, imagine the plight of those families.  With the TOTAL BAN OF THESE TASMAC WINE SHOPS NO PERMANENT SOLUTION CAN BE GOTTEN, but it comes with the hidden risk of contaminated liquor sale rampantly. Let’s strive to save our society.

 

-Vijayashree Ramesh

The writer is an advocate based at Chennai