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Campaign Against Alcohol Abuse In Observance Of The Buddhist Lent


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Campaign against Alcohol Abuse in Observance of the Buddhist Lent (04/07/2009)


The Ministry of Public Health is joining forces with public and private organizations in launching a campaign against alcohol abuse, marking “No Alcohol Day,” which coincides with the start of the three-month Buddhist Lent, or Buddhist Rains Retreat.


Known in Thai as Khao Phansa, Buddhist Lent Day this year falls on July 8, the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month. A group of young people, including performing artists, met Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva before a Cabinet meeting on June 30 to show their appreciation for his efforts to raise public awareness of alcohol abuse. The group also urged Cabinet members and the general public to refrain from drinking alcohol during the three-month Buddhist Lent.


Deputy Public Health Minister Manit Nopamornbodee told a press conference that the Ministry was determined to implement various measures to minimize the impacts of alcohol consumption. The Cabinet on 8 July 2008 decided to designate Buddhist Lent Day each year “No Alcohol Day.” Refraining from drinking alcohol is considered a worthy act, not only for keeping people in good health, but also in compliance with Buddhist principles, which include a call for abstaining from intoxicating drinks.


In launching the anti-alcohol campaign, the Government has used religious principles to encourage people and organizations to realize the dangers of alcohol abuse, which may lead to serious health problems, such as liver cancer and alcoholism. Heavy drinkers may also become emotionally unstable, affecting their ability to observe moral conduct.


Statistics show that 60 percent of road accidents in Thailand are caused by drunk driving and that alcohol consumption led to an indirect economic loss of 156 billion baht during the past two years. Medical costs alone were as high as 5.5 billion baht.



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