The Alcohol & Drug Information Centre (ADIC) has objected to the decision taken by the government to reopen liquor outlets warning that this decision could have serious consequence for the country.

ADIC said that the country has managed to control the COVID-19 pandemic effectively due to the timely and accurate decisions taken by the  political leadership acting on the recommendations of public health experts.

“ Experts and all who love our nation are astounded by the recent decision of the government to re-open bars with relaxation of curfew. In its Exit Strategy for  COVID-19, the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka (CCPSL) clearly stated that bars and alcohol outlets should not be opened,” ADIC said in a news release today.

It warned that opening of liquor outlets leads to crowding near bars / alcohol outlets thus hindering physical distancing while alcohol consumption weakens the immune system leading to an increased risk of alcohol users contracting coronavirus.

The other points elaborated by ADIC are as follows:-

• Alcohol use can increase road traffic accidents due to driving under the influence of alcohol and  this will unnecessarily increase the burden on the healthcare system, doctors, nurses and hospital personnel, emergency services, law enforcement officers and public resources, already strained due to the pandemic.

• Increase in alcohol use can lead to  more domestic violence and public conflict further burdening of the healthcare system, emergency services and law enforcement.

• Individuals who use alcohol in lower socio-economic levels will spend money on alcohol which will further increase the strain on these families.

ADIC said that it is unacceptable for a government that has hitherto acted on a scientific basis to  deal with the COVID-19 crisis to re-open bars.

“This scheme is  a conspiracy by the alcohol industry, certain government officials and some  politicians and  undermines the President’s plan to rid the country of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) expects the President to take urgent action against this scheme and safeguard the nation and all Sri Lankans,” the news release said.