Panaji: In an alarming trend, the age of youngsters in Goa starting liquor consumption has dropped drastically from 20 years to 13 years in last one decade, due to which cases of liver cirrhosis and other alcohol-related diseases are being detected at an early age of 20 years instead of 30 years, said Associate Professor of Surgery at Goa Medical College, Dr Rajesh Patil.
Dr Patil was given National Award last week by President Ram Nath Kovind for his work towards preventing alcohol addiction and substance abuse done in last one decade.
“It takes a minimum of seven years for continuous drinking for symptoms of liver cirrhosis to show up. Earlier, these symptoms were detected among patients in the age group between 30-35 years,” Dr Patil said.
“This meant that they would have started drinking at the age of 22-23 years. Now, we find people in the age group of 21-22 years have liver cirrhosis, which means they started drinking from the age of 13 when they were studying in fifth grade,” Dr Patil further added.
“Easy access to alcohol is a common problem in Goa and role models are there in the house itself and this is a dangerous trend. In Goa, 12 to 13 per cent patients of Pancreatitis have alcohol-related problems. There is a 10 per cent increase in the disease over the years,” he said.
There are 20-30 per cent admissions of alcohol-related cases at Goa Medical College (GMC).
Many trauma patients brought at GMC are found having the presence of alcohol in the body, Dr Patil exclaimed.
As if alcoholism in itself is not enough a crisis, a mixture of substance in alcohol like anti-depressant drugs (Ketamine) is aggravating the health-related problems even further.
The award-winning surgeon said there is no drug as such which will stop the addition.
“There is no magic wand available to solve the problem. The best thing is to imbibe in students at school level that alcohol is a killer by including a chapter on hazards of alcoholism at the school level and this will make them aware. Only then, we will be able to stop them before they start drinking,” Dr Patil said.