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SA drinks a third more than world average

Durban - South Africans consume about 10 litres of alcohol a year, nearly a third more than the world average, say experts.

“A study showed that 45.5 percent of South Africans ‘binged’ in the week leading up to the research survey – this is very high compared to the global average of 11.5 percent,” said Stellenbosch University’s Department of Psychiatry’s Dr Lize Weich, ahead of Substance Abuse Awareness Week, which begins on Tuesday.

South Africans consume about 10 litres of alcohol a year, nearly a third more than the world average, say experts. File photo: David Ritchie. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the country, followed by dagga, heroin and tik, according to the most recent report of the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use.

The Western Cape reported the highest number of tik use. Dagga was Gauteng’s drug of choice.

Heroin use was highest in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Alcohol abuse dominated in KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Cape and the North West.

“We have the highest documented rate of foetal alcohol syndrome in the world (and) alarmingly high rates of high-risk sexual behaviour linked to substance abuse,” said Weich.

A recent review of research found a causal link between alcohol abuse and tuberculosis, and the progression of TB and HIV.

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