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Lockdown or lock-in? Fears of alcoholism, addiction in confinement

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“Another videoconference happy hour! I’m going to end up an alcoholic…”

“At the office, I can’t go downstairs to smoke over every little annoyance — but working from home, nobody knows!”

Whether they are tongue-in-cheek comments or anxious, existential questions, testimonials of this kind are now rife on social media.

With more than three billion people around the world living under lockdown, is it likely many people could turn to addiction while in coronavirus confinement?
Not necessarily — but many people are at risk, experts say.

“The links between traumatic stress and drug use are well-established,” said Philippe Batel, a psychiatrist and head of the Charente addiction centre in southwestern France.

“People respond in the usual ways, such as painkillers, alcohol and recreational drugs,” he said.

Elsa Taschini, psychologist and co-founder of the association Addict’Elles, says such a reaction can be expected even among people who do not suffer from addiction.

“In a confined situation, most of the strategies for coping with stress, such as sport or going out, no longer exist. But there is more and more stress. And the coping strategy that is still available is the use of substances,” she explained.

In its recommendations for coping with stress during the pandemic, the World Health Organization advises: “Don’t use smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions”.

– ‘A need for conviviality’ –

Some countries have taken drastic measures to avoid such abuse. South Africa will ban the sale of alcohol during its containment period from Friday, while Hong Kong has warned restaurants and bars to stop serving it.

In France, however, tobacco shops — a major source of tax income — as well as wine shops have remained open.

For smokers, there are simply too many opportunities to light up.

“When you are locked up, it is not the time to deprive yourself,” says Bertrand Dautzenberg, secretary general of the French Alliance Against Tobacco.

“The best thing to do is to replace it, put on patches or use substitutes, or an electronic cigarette,” he said.

“But we can also try to say to ourselves: This is a complicated moment, what can I do that is good? Quit smoking.”

Nathalie Latour of the Addiction Federation said “we have to manage this issue of craving.”

“We’re seeing an increase in the number of virtual drink meet-ups, a need for conviviality and decompression that goes hand-in-hand with alcohol consumption,” she said.

It’s important to “avoid falling into the pattern: conviviality equals alcohol, stress equals alcohol,” she added.

The longer the lockdown lasts, the more the negative effects are likely to be felt, warns Philippe Batel at the Charente addiction centre.

“Consumption can be a response to a waiting period. We tell ourselves: ‘It will calm me down and allow me to put things at a distance’,” he said.

“But as time goes by, there is less and less of a calming effect and the expected benefit shifts” to depression and anxiety induced by drinking too much, Batel said.

– Not a joke –

Deep down, people are aware of the dangers of overindulging during the lockdown, said Taschini of Addict’Elles.

“If we make so many jokes, it’s because in fact we know that it’s not really a joke,” she said, pointing to the numerous humorous videos posted online.

Taschini suggests these “stress moderators” may not fit in with other activities that can be soothing in confinement, such as watching movies or reading.

Then there is the question of how millions of recreational drug users are coping during the pandemic, when finding supplies may become difficult.

“At the beginning of the lockdown there were almost no dealers moving around, but they have reorganised,” said one 24-year-old Parisian student who wished not to be named.

“You have to order the day before, in larger quantities, but they’ve resumed business.”

By NN


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Health

The Rate at Which Kenyan Teens Are Consuming Alcohol is Alarming!

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Even though the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act (2013) clearly states that; “No person holding a licence to manufacture, store or consume alcoholic drinks under this Act shall allow a person under the age of eighteen years to enter or gain access to the area in which the alcoholic drink is manufactured, stored or consumed,” a recent study shows that young people start consuming alcohol between the age 12 – 16 years. A bigger percentage of them receive their first drink from their friends, relatives and even parents.

‘When I look at that chair I see Shanty’ – Shanty’s mum mourns
But who cares? The bar owners need money, and young people want to have fun.

44.9% of them drink on special occasions, 32.9% on school holidays, 6.6% 2-3 times a week, 5.1% daily, 5.1% once a month, 3.3% every two weeks and 2.9% once a week.

BOY SCHOOLS ACCOUNT FOR THE HIGHEST UNDERAGE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION WHILE THE HABIT TENDS TO BE ALMOST EVENLY SKEWED BETWEEN THOSE THAT RECEIVE >3000 & <500 PER TERM AS POCKET MONEY. MINORS FROM SINGLE PARENT AND GRANDPARENT-LED FAMILIES ARE MORE LIKELY TO ENGAGE IN UNDERAGE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL
Courtesy NACADA/ Ipsos

-Mpasho


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Health

Kenyans Woman Spikes Lover’s Drink, Transfers Sh1.7mn From His Bank Account – police

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A woman has been arrested in the Kenyan coast after spiking his drink, and stealing Sh1.7 million from his bank account.

24-year-old Beatrice Mueni Mbiu had been on the run since September 8 when the incident occurred at a night club in Nyali, Kwale County.

“She took off alongside her two accomplices but we got her,” a DCI detective told Capital FM News, “she will be charged on Monday even as we seek the other two.”

The detective said the suspect had been positively identified by the victim.

According to police, the woman first spiked the man’s drink then stole his phone which she used to transfer Sh1.7 million from his bank account.

Detectives said they relied on the club’s CCTV images and footage to identify and trace the suspect.

Drink-spiking is common in night clubs frequented by commercial sex workers in major towns including Nairobi and Mombasa where they target both locals and foreigners.

-Capitalfm.co.ke


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Health

PS Kibicho reveals he contracted coronavirus

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Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has revealed that he contracted coronavirus and recovered after undergoing treatment.

While addressing mourners in Kirinyaga County on Friday Dr Kibicho said Covid-19 is not a death sentence.

“I tested positive for coronavirus, but I was treated and discharged from hospital,” he said at Gathuthuini Primary School during the funeral service of a local church leader.

“I am a living example. Those who are suffering from the disease should not worry because they will get well,” he said, adding that out of 100 people who contract the disease in Kenya only two succumb to it.

Dr Kibicho advised Kenyans to be tested for the disease because it is curable.

“Kenyans should be tested to know their status so that they can be treated,” he said.

The PS also urged Kenyans not to stigmatise people who have contracted the virus.

“Covid-19 patients should be showed love and not rejection. When the patients are abandoned, they become depressed and may take longer to recover,” he said.

He also underscored the need for everyone to continue observing protocols issued by the Ministry of Health to control the spread of Covid-19.

“People should wear masks, sanitise regularly, wash their hands and avoid crowded places,” he said.

The PS further said that city residents should avoid travel during the holidays.

“If I had power, I would lock Nairobi during the festive season to curb spread of the dis-ease to rural areas,” Dr Kibicho said.


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