The impact of alcohol abuse on the welfare of rural households: a case study of Mbeti-north Ward, Embu County
The main objective of this study was to establish the impact of alcohol abuse on the welfare of rural Kenyans. Particularly, the study sought to establish factors that lead to high alcohol consumption in rural households, determine the impact of alcoholism on the family unit, find out the effect of alcoholism on the health of the consumers and establish the community’s reaction towards the problem of alcoholism in society. This study was conducted because inspite of the well-known negative effects of alcoholism in society, people still continue to abuse alcohol. This has led to alcohol-related injuries, health conditions and deaths, threats to the family unit, and both society and the government are reacting. Review of relevant literature indicated that alcohol abuse has negative effects on the individual and his health, on the family unit and on society at large. To give a better understanding of alcohol abuse, the social disorganization and deviance theories were applied. The study adopted a descriptive study design and used both probability and non-probability sampling methods. Data collection tools used in this study included a questionnaire, and an interview guide. The study found out that the following factors promote alcohol abuse: corruption, peer pressure, idleness, marital problems, media influence and work related stress. The study established that the major impacts of alcohol consumption on the family unit are domestic violence, marital problems, selling of family property and death. On the health of the alcohol abusers, the study found that alcohol leads to: development of a variety of health conditions including cancers and alcoholic liver disease, placing of a heavy burden of disease in society due to HIV/AIDS and other STIs contracted by engaging in careless sex when drunk, injuries and accidents caused when working or driving when drunk. As the community’s reaction to this problem, the study found that the government, Faith Based Organisations and the community at large has made efforts at fighting the vice. In conclusion, the study points to causative factors like corruption, peer pressure and idleness which can be addressed, with the result of alcohol abuse being threats to the family unit, health conditions and death-making it a major socio-economic problem. The study thus recommends that the government should ensure the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act 2010 is implemented without Corruption; and address the problem of unemployment to reduce idleness. The community should also get fully involved in fighting the vice instead of assuming a helpless, on-lookers position.