In Jamaica, alcohol is the most abused drug. Access to alcohol among Jamaican youth appears to be unencumbered despite the fact that it is illegal to sell alcohol to adolescents that are 18 years or younger. Findings from the National School Survey (2006) show an 8 percent increase in adolescent current use over the last 20 years. Four out of ten have consumed alcohol in the last 30 days, 5 out of 10 in the last 12 months and 7 out of 7 have tried alcohol in their lifetime.
On the basis of the best available evidence, the harmful use of alcohol is a major global problem. Alcohol consumption is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease and disability. Alcohol is a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries and a component cause in 200 others. The threat that alcohol abuse poses to men is grave. Globally, 6.2% of all male deaths are attributable to male death compared to 1.1% female and men outnumber women four to one in weekly episodes of heavy drinking (WHO 2011). Alcohol use and its related harm depend on the socio-cultural milieu in which it is used. Policies, legislations, enforcement, cultural norms, alcohol industry’s activities, services available, level of empowerment of communities and individual perceptions are some of the factors that contribute to the initiation and continuation of use and behaviours that lead to harm. (WHO 2009).