Alcohol consumption bans at retirement parties win praise

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Two key Thai ministries, the Interior and Education, have gained recognition for their commitment to stamping out alcohol consumption during retirement parties for their staff ending their service after this month.

Introduced seven years ago, this policy was brought into effect following requests made by the StopDrink Network Office, the Office of the Basic Education Commission, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and a group of educators advocating for a society free from alcohol consumption.

The policy has been upheld by Suttipong Juljarern, the Interior Ministry’s permanent secretary, who reasserted it in a mandate issued on August 28 to provincial leaders and heads of departments under the ministry’s authority. On August 29, Suthin Kaewpana, the Education Ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, issued an equivalent order, reported Bangkok Post.

Theera Watcharapranee, the StopDrink Network Office’s director called for the booze bans and asked for people to show support.

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“Numerous officials are retiring at the end of this month, prompting a flurry of parties. These campaigns should serve as a model for other organisations to emulate. We also encourage those hosting alcohol-free parties to share images and captions on our Facebook page for our use.”

According to Theera, approximately 16 million Thai citizens consume alcohol, with 46.4% being males. However, it is noteworthy that male drinkers are on the decline while female consumers are on the rise.

Alcohol consumption among Thai individuals aged 15-19 years old is also decreasing, but those who start at a young age often become regular drinkers, added Theera. This suggests that despite Thailand’s stringent regulations against advertising alcoholic beverages, producers are reaching out to women and young people through online marketing. This highlights a critical issue that needs to be tackled to ensure a healthier society.

The call for a ban on alcohol consumption harkens back to the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when booze bans were common nationwide. Finally, for New Year’s Eve in 2021, the government gave the okay for booze at countdown events.

But for those who wanted to start 2022 safe and sober, or just to go to a more family-friendly celebration, the Thai government hosted a separate alcohol-free “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2022” in five locations across Thailand.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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