Undeniable applause has been showered upon the interior and education ministries for their unwavering dedication to diminish the prevalence of alcohol consumption at farewell celebrations for retiring officials. This tends to occur extensively at the cusp of each month’s completion. Such a policy has been evident for almost a decade; seven years to be precise. Its conception can be credited to the tenacious efforts from the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the Office of the Basic Education Commission, the StopDrink Network Office, and a coalition of educators vehemently championing for a society completely devoid of alcohol.
The indispensable role of the interior ministry in promoting this, inarguably, innovative policy has remained intact throughout this period. This has been reiterated by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Suttipong Juljarern, through an uncompromising directive addressed to provincial governors and heads of agencies affiliated with the ministry’s jurisdiction on the 28th of August.
Similar sentiments were echoed by the deputy permanent secretary at the Education Ministry, Suthin Kaewpana, who issued an identical policy direction on the subsequent day. The director of the StopDrink Network Office, Theera Watcharapranee, expressed his satisfaction upon seeing the policy’s effect. The rising number of retirement parties being organised with the absence of alcohol serves as resounding proof to the effectiveness of these measures.
“The campaigns have undoubtedly paved the way for other organisations to follow. We further encourage these parties to contribute photos and testimonials to our Facebook page, effectively promoting a healthier lifestyle,” added Mr. Theera.
The country’s alcohol consumption largely veers towards adult men, with a staggering 16 million Thai population indulging in alcoholic beverages, and 46.4% of them being men. This scenario, however, appears to have a silver lining. The number of male drinkers has begun to show signs of a decline, whereas that of female drinkers has been on a slow ascent.
Concurrently, the adolescent demographic between the ages of 15 and 19 engaging in alcohol consumption is also witnessing a gradual reduction. Even though a few who initiate drinking at a tender age tend to sustain the practice, their flock seems to be dwindling.
However, a major concern is that despite the stern legal restrictions against advertising alcoholic beverages, the producers are using creative strategies to target women and young individuals by skirting around the traditional advertising laws and instead utilising online marketing. “This shift in target demographic is a potential threat we need to keenly observe,” warned Mr. Theera.