Watch out for alcohol promos: Salvation Army

Salvation Army’s Regional Leader Rod Carey has urged the public to be cautious of alcohol promotion as it is a “fine line” between responsible drinking and alcohol abuse.

In a telephone interview with the Samoa Observer, following recent revelation by the Police that 30 per cent of calls for assistance is for alcohol-related incidents, Mr Carey said Samoans should wake up to the form of advertising and promotion of alcohol.

He said it saddens him that people are turning to alcohol as a source of happiness and disappointing that excessive alcohol consumption is resulting in motor vehicle accidents leading to injury and death.

"People should think before they drink and drive and take it responsibly,” he said.

Mr Carey then commended the Police for arresting motorists driving under the influence (D.U.I.), saying there is a lot of pain and heartache whenever there are injuries and deaths on the road.

Police Commissioner Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil revealed on Sunday that 30 per cent of calls for Police's assistance is in response to an alcohol-related situation, and the number of arrests made in the last four days in connection with D.U.I. has also risen.

Pointing to Samoa professing to be a Christian nation with strong biblical faithful, Mr Carey said people are turning to alcohol as their source of joy and fun, when they should be turning to Christ.

He added that if Jesus is the reason for the season, why do the people need to drink excessively to the point where they get drunk and do violent acts or drink-drive or get into fights.

Seeing many people being influenced by Western culture to turn to alcohol for peace, joy and happiness is saddening, added Mr Carey, who also thinks that the lack of education around responsible drinking is a major factor.

"But it seems to me that their lack of education around responsible drinking and certainly Samoa has a very strong rising problem with alcohol misuse and abuse and we see that in our programme.”

Mr Carey said they have numerous clients and those arrested DUI who will all probably make their way to the Salvation Army, and they will help and educate them as well as give them tools to be more responsible drinkers or abstain. 

The public were also reminded that people do not need to wait until they get into trouble to seek their help, as Mr Carey indicated that anyone can self-refer a family member to the Salvation Army’s alcohol rehabilitation programme besides family members, village councils or matai. 

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