Alcohol in society 

Alcohol in society

Types of alcohol

There are two types of alcohol namely

  • Methanol
  • Ethanol

Methanol is found mostly in home distilled alcohol.

  • It is very dangerous and poisonous and many cause blindness or death.
  • It is mainly used as a fuel or for sterilizing medical instruments.
  • Ethanol is contained in all alcoholic drinks that are consumed.
  • It can also be used as fuel.

Production of alcohol

Common alcoholic drinks are made from juices of bananas, pineapples, sugar cane, maize, millet, sorghum, rice, barley, cassava, potatoes.

Yeast is added to the mixture of water and these food substances to speed up fermentation.

Methods of producing alcohol

  1. Fermentation
  2. Distillation

Fermentation is the process by which sugar in juice is turned into alcohol with the help of yeast.

  • Fermented fruit juices make wine.
  • Fermented starch mixture from grains or cereals make beer.   

Examples of drinks produced locally by fermentation

  • Mwenge bigere       –           from bananas
  • Malwa (ajon)          –           from millet/ sorghum
  • Kwete                     –           from cassava / maize
  • Munanansi              –           from pineapples
  • Omurambi               –           from sorghum
  • Beer                        –           from oats, barley and  sorghum


  • This is the process by which we get alcohol from fermentation.
  • The alcohol in the fermented juice is heated and it evaporates.
  • The alcohol vapour is then condensed and collected.

How distillation of alcohol is done.

  • Crude alcohol is boiled to produce alcohol vapour.
  • The vapour is condensed  to get liquid alcohol with the help of cold water as a condenser.
  • The liquid alcohol now called distillate is passed through a coiled delivery tube in to a clean container i.e. bottles or jerry cans.
  • The delivery tube is usually coiled to increase the surface area for condensation of alcohol in the condenser. (cold water)    

Illustration on how distillation is done;

Uses of alcohol

  • For drinking
  • Making medicines
  • For disinfecting wounds
  • For sale to get money
  • Used during cultural functions
  • Used in making cosmetics and perfumes
  • Used to sterilize medical  instruments in hospitals
  • Used as a fuel
  • Used in making nail vanish solutions

Alcoholism is a condition where an individual depends on alcohol for normal functioning of the body.

Alcoholic is a person who is addicted to alcohol.

Addiction is a condition in which a person has a very strong desire to take alcohol every day.

Effects of alcohol on the community

  • May lead to job neglect causing low productivity.
  • May cause traffic accidents at home, suicidal behavior.
  • High crime rate in the society e.g rape, defilement, robbery etc.
  • Can lead to increase of certain diseases in the community e.g AIDS.
  • Alcoholics become public nuisance.
  • Nation may lose very important people
  • Loss of income tax base due to less production.

Reasons why people drink alcohol

  • Idleness
  • Frustration
  • Peer pressure
  • The desire to pass time, with friends.
  • Family back ground and social environment
  • To show that they are rich.
  • People’s culture in ceremonies/ celebrations
  • Misleading adverts on T.V, radio, magazines
  • To forget their problems.
  • Influence by people one admires e.g. parents, teachers etc.

Effects of alcohol on people ( immediate effects)

  • Slows down the action (function) of the brain.
  • People who are not used to drinking a lot of alcohol vomit when they drink a lot of it.
  • People get easily annoyed after drinking a lot of alcohol.
  • People who are drunk become forgetful
  • People who are drunk lose respect for laws.
  • People who are drunk lose balance.

Long term effects

  • Loss of appetite
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Liver diseases
  • Leads to self neglect
  • Loss of jobs
  • The pancreas may swell.
  • Too much and constant drinking may cause hand tremors

Effects of alcohol to a family

  • Leads to family neglect
  • Leads to poverty in a family.
  • It causes spouse and child abuse.
  • Leads to bad behavior among children
  • It causes violence in homes.

How to avoid alcoholism

  • Avoid bad peer groups
  • Never believe in advertisements which praise alcohol as a good drink.
  • Never drink alcohol to over come a problem.
  • Join groups whose members do not take alcohol.
  • Engage in activities which help you to append free time properly.
  • Take your parents and other people’s warning about the dangers of alcohol seriously.

Uganda laws on alcohol

  • People under 18 years of age are not allowed to drink alcohol in public places.     
  • No one is allowed to drive a vehicle when he is drunk.
  • Home distillation of alcohol is forbidden
  • No one is allowed to transport or sell home distilled alcohol.
  • Public places that use alcoholic drinks are allowed to operate up to a limited time.   


Smoking is the drawing in smoke from burning tobacco through the mouth.

A smoker is a person who smokes tobacco frequently.

Chemicals contained in tobacco

  • Nicotine
  • Tar

Smoking is either active or passive

Active smoking is that one in which the smoker takes in smoke directly from cigarette or smoking pipe.

Passive smoking is the type of smoking in which a non smoker breathes in air containing tobacco smoke.   

Reasons why people smoke.

  • To pass time
  • To concentrate on what they are doing
  • To feel warm
  • To fit in a peer group (peer influence)
  • To feel confident

Effects of smoking on the human body

  • Leads to respiratory diseases such as;
  • Lung cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Heart attack (coronary heart disease)
  • Peptic ulcers          
  • Cancer of the mouth and throat.        

How to avoid smoking

  • Do not believe in advertisements about cigarette smoking.   
  • Know that there is no good reason for smoking
  • Avoid joining groups  of  smokers.
  • Keep yourself busy for example by reading a novel, or doing any other meaningful activities such as playing games etc.     

Life skills to safeguard against smoking.  

  • Keep away from people who smoke
  • Never allow any body to convince you to smoke.
  • Gather more information on dangers of smoking from health workers.
  • Report your friends who smoke to the teachers or their parents for advise.   
  • Like games and sports during your free time.
  • Never use your money to buy cigarettes.           


 A drug is a chemical substance which affects the way one’s mind and how the body works.

  • It can either help or harm the body system.
  • Drugs are either in manufactured form or raw form
  • Raw drugs are either in the form of plants and animal parts or extracts from animal or plants.
  • If drugs are manufactured and tested in laboratories they are called laboratory manufactured drugs.

Characteristics of laboratory manufactured drugs

  • They are carefully made and tested.
  • Their strength, stability and purity is known.
  • They are the same for each quantity.
  • Their effect on human health is known,
  • They are packaged and properly protected
  • They are well labeled
  • They have expiry and manufactured dates.

Examples of laboratory manufactured drugs

  • Aspirin
  • Chloroquine
  • Quinine
  • Fansidar
  • Panadol
  • Coartem
  • Mabendazole

Characteristics of traditional drugs.

  • They are made of raw plants and animals
  • Their strength, purity and stability changes.
  • They are of different quantities
  • Their effects on human health is not known.
  • They are not well labeled
  • They are not well packaged.

Examples of traditional drugs

  • Mululunza
  • Kigagi
  • Bombo
  • Eusuk
  • Asimiri

Essential drugs

Essential drugs are drugs needed to care and prevent common diseases affecting the majority of people in an area or country.

Qualities of essential drugs

  • They should be affordable to make the cost of treatment manageable.
  • They should be accessible and available whenever needed.
  • They should be effective to cure, prevent and control diseases.
  • They should be safe when the correct dosage is used.
  • They should have a satisfactory value for money.

Examples of essential drugs

  • Cough mixture
  • Chloroquine
  • Paracetamol
  • Piriton
  • Penicillin
  • ORS
  • Tetracyline

Drug prescription

This refers to health workers written information on how a drug should be used.

If a drug is taken without a prescription, the patient will either take under or over dose.

Over dose

This is the taking in of more medicine than is required.

An overdose is dangerous to the body because it can lead to poisoning or death.

Under dose

This is when one takes fewer drugs than the required

The major disadvantage of an under dose is that it causes drug resistance.

The major disadvantage of an under dose is that it causes drug resistance.

Advantages of drug prescriptions.

  • It helps the patient to know the correct drug.
  • Its dosage relation to age, weight and duration of treatment
  • Prevent over doe which is harmful and poisonous to the body
  • Prevents and controls misuse of drugs

Drugs of dependence

These are drugs which cause addiction after prolonged use.

An addition to a drug is a strong disease that one feels uncomfortable when he / she does not use the drug.

Drugs of dependency

This is the continuous use of drugs on a regular basis after the body of the user. It can also be the illegal use of the drug.

Common drugs of dependency

  • Marijuana
  • Khart or miraa
  • Cocaine
  • Glue
  • Aviation fuel
  • Heroin
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Paint thinner.

Drug mis-use

This is the use of a drug without or against the health worker’s instruction.

Ways of Mis-using drugs

  • Sharing drugs
  • Taking un prescribed drugs

Drug abuse

This is the use of a drug in a way which is harm (dangerous) to the body.

Why People Abuse Drugs

  • Some people abuse drugs to overcome fear
  • Due to peer influence
  • To keep a wake or sleep
  • Due to good advertisement
  • To pass time
  • To feel warm
  • To get energy
  • To concentrate on what they are doing
  • To gain more appetite.  

Common people who abuse drugs

Effects of drugs of dependence to an individual

  • Brain damage
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep)
  • Job neglect
  • Self neglect
  • Low immunity to disease

Effects  to the family

  • Family neglect
  • Family aggression and violence 
  • Criminal acts like defilement and rape
  • Poverty
  • It sets a bad example to the children

Effects to the community

  1. It leads to increased accidents
  2. Criminal behavior
  3. Poor job performance

Life skills to safe guard against alcohol , smoking and drug dependency

What is a life skill?

It is personal and social skill that enables a person to function confidently and competently in order to fit in a community.

Self awareness

  • Know yourself
  • Care for your self to avoid drug abuse
  • Make choices which you think are consistent and of value.
  • Avoid associating with wrong groups
  • Say No to people influencing you to use drugs

Coping with stress

  • In this situation, try to be firm to a problem and be ready to contain it.
  • Try to accept positive pieces of  advices with patience
  • Don’t drink / smoke as means of reducing stress

Self esteem

  • Accept your self as you and believe in your self
  • Have good discipline
  • Appreciate your self
  • Peer resistance
  • Avoid bad company


  • Be open and give reasons for all your decisions
  • Insist on the fact that wrong  things are wrong.
  • Be straight forward and honest with your self.

Decision making

  • Make a choice with good results
  • Bad decision may affect your life in future

Leisure time

  • Involving your self in meaningful activities during free time.

Life skills that can help you to avoid drugs

  • Desist from bad peer groups
  • Through counseling and guidance
  • Follow good morals from elders.
  • Spending leisure time constructively by engaging in productive activities.
  • Reading good material which is useful to life.