Achieving prohibition difficult: British expert

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 16 (IANS) British global policy expert Derek Rutherford on Tuesday opined that total prohibition was difficult to achieve.

Rutherford, who arrived in the Kerala capital on Tuesday to attend the three-day international conference on ‘Effective Strategies for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse’ organised by the state government, was responding to questions if prohibition has been successful anywhere.

“To achieve total prohibition is difficult and to make an tempt to reach there has to have a twin approach of legislation and education and with Kerala’s high levels of literacy, things can happen,” Rutherford told reporters at the Congress party’s state headquarters.

“Liquor has destroyed several families in England and it affects children besides those who consume it. In the world, there is one death every 10 seconds due to alcohol and this has to be prevented,” he said.

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According to the Kerala government’s liquor policy, through various measures, the state will become completely dry by 2023.

Already more than 700 bars in 2,3,4-star hotels have been shut since the beginning of this fiscal. The policy has also been given the green signal by the Supreme Court.

There are now only around 26 five-star hotel bars that serve liquor in the state, besides around 320 state-owned retail liquor vends.

Excise Minister K. Babu said the consumption of liquor has come down following the new policy.

“While the WHO aims to bring alcohol consumption down by one percent annually, there has been a 10 percent decrease in the state in the past five years.

“Through Subodham I-CON 2016 (Kerala government’s programme to tackle alcoholism and drug abuse), we hope to fight alcohol and substance abuse in a more scientific manner,” said Babu.

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