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Alcoholism, a word that strikes a nerve in many homes. It is a broad term for any drinking/ consumption of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. It is an ongoing problem that can carry severe consequences. Its effects vary among different countries. The countries I chose to research are the United States, Canada, and Ireland. The population of the United States (U. S. ) is 326, 766, 748 million and is the largest of the three countries. Second largest is Canada at 36, 950, 000 million. And the smallest of the three is Ireland at 4, 803, 748 million.
The rate of alcoholism is truly staggering. Of the total population of the U. S. 30% are considered abusers of alcohol. 14 million are adults between 18 and 35 and 3 million are teenagers between 14 and 17. Canada, though similar in size to the U. S. , has the lowest percentage of alcohol abuse at 19%. Though it has the lowest percentage it also has the youngest age of consumption recorded at 12 years of age even though the legal drinking age is 18. It is a larger problem with the male population at 23. 8% vs the female population at 14. 2%. Of the three countries Ireland has the highest percentage of alcoholism at 39%. They are considered an adult at age 15 and alcohol consumption is basically a tradition. They have various pubs, parties, and festivals however most is reported from binge drinking and like Canada is more prevalent in the male population.
Some people suggest it could be related to how developed a country is. The United States and Canada are very similar and both considered developed countries. They are considered developed due to more developed skills and work industry, higher wages, education, and modern technology. They both have a variety of industry and are able to employ multiple skill and education levels. There are also many ways to make monetary transactions due to various outlets provided by modern technology. This is imperative since debit/ credit card use is the most frequent way used to spend money and these options are available 24 hours per day. Education is very important and in Canada and the U. S. it is a right provided free of charge through 12th grade with the exception of private schools. It is encouraged and highly valued in both countries who also have an array of collegiate level choices for further education.
In Ireland, unfortunately this is not the case. Ireland is considered underdeveloped. They have poor industry, low wages, very little access to modern technology and most people are not educated past 11th grade. There are so many day to day factors that attribute to alcoholism. In the U. S and Canada once again they share some of the same reasoning. Some of the leading contributors are stress, mental health, early age exposure and consumption, family history and medication use with alcohol. Family history is one of the greatest factors.
Children are raised in homes where alcohol is consumed and abused morning, noon, and night. They view it as a crutch and a problem solver. Some children are even allowed and some encouraged to consume it themselves. They see it advertised as something that enhances fun in social and party settings and are drawn to the sense of euphoria that seems to come with it. However in Ireland it is a different scenario. There it is readily available and very cheap. Most of the pubs and businesses compete for the lowest prices to encourage business as part of their industry. Men especially visit the bars and pubs after work on a daily basis and often have their teen sons in tow. They are not strict on drinking age. They will sell it to nearly anyone and begin consuming it daily at a young age.
Another key factor to consider is religion. In Ireland the main religion is Catholicism. Catholics tend to have the highest rate of alcoholism as they believe the bible does not teach against it. They tend to be daily drinkers and tend to drink in excess. In the U. S. the main religion is Christianity. They also believe the bible does not say you can’t drink however they have great respect of the legal drinking age of 21. They generally do not test limits and generally limit consumption to special occasions and social events. Canadians tend to be Roman Catholics, sharing many of the same beliefs as Ireland and tend to be daily drinkers.
The U. S has many programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, counseling and rehab facilities. They also have private entities that educate the youth and general public of the ill effects it can have. One example is MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who tell real life experiences of loss and tragedy due to alcohol consumption. They show pictures and videos and tell real, vivid, personal stories and has been very successful in deterring youth from drinking. Ireland and Canada have many inpatient and outpatient treatment options. They are designed to help people identify their problems of addiction and aid them in the difficult task of overcoming it.
In conclusion, alcoholism in all 3 countries I compared seemed to have several common denominators. I feel to to treat this successfully it first has to be recognized and treated as a real problem. Law enforcement as well as communities have to work together to enforce drinking laws and enforce legal drinking age. Advertisement should have more boundaries. It should not appeal to be necessary for your life to be fun or as something you turn to in anger or sadness. I feel there should be stricter laws on how much one person can buy, like some over the counter medications, I feel your ID should have to be scanned and set distinct limits on amount you are able to purchase in a 24 hour time frame.
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