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PEER pressure, anxiety, depression, boredom, rebellion, and insomnia are just a few of the causes our teenagers in Zambia are picking up bottles of beer to drink their heads off.

It could also be argued that drinking to cope with dejection has almost become an emblem of honour in our society, a discernible sign to the world that one is indeed, aching.

Admittedly, alcohol is the most used and abused drug among youths in Zambia who have kept on blaming it on unemployment.

And because alcohol is easy to obtain and socially tolerable, it is a very widespread means of self-medication for depression for our youths who seem not to care about tomorrow.

Despite the fact that it is illegal for these teenagers to buy alcohol, they are often able to get it because bars and night clubs don’t care about them as they are only interested in making huge profits.

There have been reports of school children entering bars and night clubs in their uniforms and drinking beer like their fathers and nobody really cares.

There have been reports too of young drinkers being prone to inadvertent injuries such as falls, car accidents, drowning, and burns.

Those still in school, their grades just keep on falling because of skipping school, followed by behavioral problem.

It has therefore not come much as shock to learn that Lusaka’s Pa Esther Compound teenagers have deeply fallen in love with alcohol because bars never close at the area.

This is a true story of a 60-year-old woman of Pa Esther Compound, Martha Sakala, who has appealed to the Lusaka City Council (LCC) to regulate times that bars open and close in her area because of alcohol abuse by the youths.

Ms Sakala has told the Sun that it is sad that youths in her community are overwhelmingly involved in illicit drinking because bars had no specific opening and closing times.

She said some parents in the community had serious challenges of curbing the vice of alcohol abuse among the children because bars were always open and that youths were often patronising those places any time of the day.

Ms Sakala, who is a mother of six, said two of her children were victims of alcohol abuse and that she was deeply troubled by their lifestyle.  

She said her oldest son who was on ARVs, was not responding well to treatment because he used to drink a lot on an empty stomach two years ago.

 “I am appealing to LCC to regulate what time they should be opening bars and closing them in our community Kwa Esther,

“Many youths are abusing alcohol because of having nothing to do. They just sit in bars and drink even with good grade 12 results. My son is not responding to medication because most of the time he is in a drunken state and forgets to take his HIV drugs and now he is sick,” he said.

Ms Sakala said her son started drinking beer just after he completed grade 12 and he had very good points but failed to complete university because of alcohol abuse.

She further said her last-born daughter, who was a mother of two, was also a drunkard and had no time to take care of her small little children.

Ms Sakala complained that her daughter was failing to look after her children and to provide for them because all she did was drink alcohol every day, something that broke her heart.

“Ever since my daughter lost her husband, she has just become a drunkard, I am the one who looks after her and her children and my source of livelihood is selling by the road side and the money is not enough,” she said.

Ms Sakala said it was saddening that most of the youths had a bad lifestyle at the community and that there was need for government to look into the situation before many lives are lost.

Government and parents therefore need to know that rising alcohol abuse by our youths can also be a warning sign or a cry for help that something is seriously wrong in their lives.

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