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Guess Which Country Just Made the List of Top 10 Global Alcohol Consumers?

For young adults entering the Vietnamese workplace, drinking is sometimes an indispensable part of their career: if you can’t drink much, then drink a little. It’s common knowledge that drinking is necessary to build a network, for both men and women.

“It will surely be a big disadvantage for your job and business if you can’t drink beer or wine,” Nguyen Thi Hai Yen, a student, told Tuoi Tre.

Without a law indicating the legal drinking age, some Vietnamese start drinking at a young age. Tuoi Tre reports that, according to a 2014 survey, “one-third of drinkers start drinking before 20 while 34% down beer when they are 14-17 and 57 percent get into the habit of drinking at 18-21.”

Even those who initially hesitate to drink eventually find that downing alcohol becomes more than a habit. Tuoi Tre found that drinking beer and wine is “an indispensable pleasure” for many young office employees and students.

In Vietnam, 43.8 percent of the adult population consumes alcohol and beer. This rate is increasing so quickly that the country has made the list of the top 25 countries with the fastest-growing rate of alcohol and beer consumption. Volume-wise, the figure is even more shocking as according to a recent survey by the Vietnam Beverage Association, in 2015, local drinkers consumed a total of 3.4 billion liters of beer and 342 million liters of spirits, a 40% increase from 2010. This places Vietnam in the top 10 global consumers of alcohol.

"The purpose of drinking is to get drunk. It will be a waste if you are not drunk," 21-year-old Vo Van Bao told Daily Mail outside The Hangover, a popular beer bar in District 1.

In a national survey conducted in 2015, researcher Bui Van Tan and associates found that 80% of men reported drinking alcohol, while 40% reported drinking at a “hazardous” level. Among the 60% who reported drinking the week before the survey, one in four had consumed at least five standard drinks in one sitting.  

According to the World Health Organization, a unit of standard drink is equivalent to a 330-millimeter bottle of beer, 30 millimeters of liquor, or 150 millimeters of wine.

In contrast, women drink much less: in the same study, less than 5% of female participants reported consuming alcohol the week before. Almost 12% reported that they had never consumed alcohol.

Apart from obvious medical ailments such as liver cirrhosis that can accompany heavy alcohol consumption, Vietnam’s alcohol habits have also resulted in other societal issues. Daily Mail quoted a government study showing that 60% of domestic violence incidents in Vietnam involve alcohol.

Furthermore, according to VnExpress, a study by the Ministry of Health indicates that half of drinkers drive after two hours of drinking. The Traffic Safety Committee adds that 40% of road-related fatalities, or some 4,000 deaths, were linked to drunk driving in 2015.

[Photo via Nguoi-Viet]

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