India Makes Alcohol Abuse Part of School Curriculum

By John Lavitt 02/18/15

The Indian government has mandated that teachers educate students about the evils of alcohol.

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The Indian government has decided to make the threat of alcohol abuse a part of the public school curriculum.

State excise minister K. Babu explained how the government plans to include chapters on the evils of alcoholism in school textbooks and instruct teachers to illuminate the dangers. The government has already allotted funds for the production of a handbook for teachers about alcoholism and its health hazards.

According to the Times of India, Babu expressed the government’s sense of responsibility in that "Bevco has allotted (funds) as part of the corporate social responsibility initiative to various de-addiction centers. Around 1,298 anti-drinking clubs in schools and 165 such clubs in colleges have begun functioning and we plan to introduce such initiatives in all colleges soon.”

With a new prohibition policy in place, the government has already canceled 15 Bevco outlets along the national and state highways. Bevco is India’s version of a 7-11 that sells hard liquor as well. There has been a 40% increase in liquor sales in Bevco outlets on Saturdays as Sundays are declared to be dry days in the country.

A.N. Sajikumar, president of the Vellathooval Co-Operative Bank, wants to reopen Bevco outlet considering the damage done to local business. "I am not supporting drinking," Sajikumar said. "But as a banker I realized that the entire business in the area had started suffering after the closure…Many of our customers are finding it tough to repay bank loans.”

Despite this focus on the money from the bankers, excise minister K. Babu refuses to relent. "The outlet was closed according to the new liquor policy of the state," Babu said.

Alcohol is banned in some parts of India, but it is legally consumed in the majority of states. At the very least, 62.5 million people in India occasionally drink. Indians prefer hard liquors and distilled spirits as opposed to beer and wine.

Roughly 80% of alcohol consumption involves these stronger beverages, leading to wide-scale abuse. Given this focus on hard liquor and the spread of alcohol abuse in the schools, the belief was an educational change was needed beyond just closing local Bevco outlets.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.