Alcoholism in Sri Lanka
Alcoholism in Sri Lanka is a major menace affecting the country. In Sri Lanka, 40% of the population consumes alcohol and a total of 35 % of men and around 3% of women consume liquor in Sri Lanka (Gunathilleke, 2016). Even though a smaller number of people consume alcohol in Sri Lanka than in the western countries (about 95% of Europeans consume alcohol while about 80% of people in Sri Lanka do not consume alcohol) they consume a much larger amount of alcohol than Europeans. For instance, consumption of liquor in Sri Lanka is 4.1 liters and in Europe, it is about 0.5 liters (Wijesiri, 2017).
In the history of Sri Lanka evidence and historical contexts proves that Sri Lanka was not a land of alcoholics as it is today. In the past, especially after the advent of Buddhism, people followed the five precepts and abstained from intoxicants as alcohol consumption is forbidden in the religion. However, after the invasion and colonization of Sri Lanka by the Dutch, Portuguese and British in quick succession, the historic culture of Sri Lanka was reduced to a pitiful state. The colonizers introduced taverns at almost every corner of the island and induced an alcohol culture into the society, thus giving birth to one of the worst alcoholic populations in the world. Sri Lankans in the drinking society drink the substance as a major beverage to celebrate events, during their mood swings and for no reason at all!!
Alcohol consumption have had a great negative impact on the standard of life and health in Sri Lanka. Alcoholism leads to a rising incidence of hospital admissions, domestic violence, spousal abuse, road accidents, crime, violence and homicide.
Sri Lanka has the second highest rate of cirrhosis in the world. We are second only to Moldova which is a vodka drinking nation. The main reason for the rise in alcohol consumption island wide is the availability and accessibility of alcohol even in the remotest parts of the country via wine stores, restaurants, toddy taverns, hotels and supermarkets. There are over 200,000 sites producing and selling illicit (unrecorded) alcohol (Wijesunder, 2012).