Image result for alcoholAIZAWL, Aug 29: A survey conducted by the Mizoram Presbyterian Church, a leading body in the Christian-majority State, has found that alcohol-related deaths in Mizoram increased after the lifting of the 17-yearold Prohibition. The survey, released yesterday, collected data from four big hospitals in Aizawl , including Aizawl Civil Hospital, Presbyterian Synod Hospital, Aizawl Hospital and Newlife Hospital, reveals that 1,070 people died due to alcohol from 2003 to 2016. According to the survey, alcoholrelated deaths in the four hospitals increased since the lifting of Prohibition and opening of wine shops in 2015. Amidst stiff protest from the churches, the Lal Thanhawla Government lifted the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, imposed since 1997, and introduced a new law that allowed opening of wine shops in 2015. 

The survey said that alcohol-related deaths in the four hospitals accounted for 16.32 per cent of the total deaths, which decreased to 9.86 per cent in 2014. Alcohol related- deaths came up in 2015 to 17.19 per cent and further to 23.38 per cent in 2016, the survey found. The survey also interviewed 873 people, including 348 rural dwellers and 524 urbanites, on the impact of alcohol on Mizo society. It said around 63 per cent of the respondents are for total prohibition of liquor, while 93.81 per cent believed that alcohol causes negative impact on the society. “The negative impact of liquor can be clearly seen from the increased of alcohol-related deaths in the four hospitals in Mizoram. If the survey had covered other hospitals, the figures would have been much higher,” said Mizoram Presbyterian Synod moderator Rev Lalzuithanga, who released the survey report. “It has also been found that liberalisation of liquor has increased promiscuity that further increases the risk of HIV infection,” he said. Another Presbyterian Church leader Robert Halliday, who heads the church’s social front, also maintained that the prohibition had been beneficial in ridding Mizo society of various social evils. 

“The Church has played a pivotal role in creating awareness against alcoholism and has organised many special drives against it. It has also been involved in rehabilitation programmes,” he said.

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