Thursday January 23, 2020
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‘Prohibition is no solution to alcohol abuse’

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New Delhi: Swarna Bharat Party (SBP) denounces prohibition or excessive restrictions on the sale of alcohol by some States. Some of these States treat rich Indians and foreigners differently, with alcohol allowed to be served in five star hotels. Such arbitrary policies imply that some Indian citizens are less responsible than others, that such Indians are fit to vote, but unfit to make responsible decisions on the question of alcohol. This two-tier approach harks back to India’s colonial era. It also begs the question why alcohol is allowed to be manufactured in India in the first place.

In a press note issued by the SBP President, Mr. Vishal Singh noted that “Prohibition has been a disaster wherever it has been attempted. The evidence is overwhelming – from across India and the world – that prohibition is never realized in practice. Instead, illicit liquor and crime receives a fillip, including smuggling from nearby non-prohibition States. This causes governments to lose essential tax revenues, even as taxpayers pay more to deal with the consequences of increased crime and corruption.”

Moreover, Mr. Singh pointed out that such restrictions are a direct attack on the promise of liberty assured by the Preamble to India’s Constitution. No doubt, the Directive principles enjoin the State to impose prohibition on the ground that “intoxicating drinks… are injurious to health”. However, SBP believes that the merits and demerits of alcohol need to be constantly reviewed in the light of new scientific evidence. A Constitution is not the place to make public policy.

Even if alcohol were proven to be injurious to health, a government would not necessarily have a role. A government’s role must be limited to addressing any harm that people cause others, for example, driving when intoxicated or domestic violence, not harm they may choose to cause themselves.

Chanakya’s Arthashastra details how alcohol can be regulated. But India’s own history and that of other free countries can also provide useful insights. One way is to tax liquor, keeping in mind that if desi liquor is taxed heavily, the poor may switch to illicit, often toxic, liquor. Breath tests of drivers should be regularly undertaken, with revenues generated from fines defraying the cost of these tests. Those who harm others should be made to pay; not those who use alcohol responsibly.

Mr. Singh noted that excessive consumption of alcohol by someone in the privacy of their home can sometimes become a social issue. Social organizations should provide scientific information to the community on the harms of excessive drinking. SBP will also disseminate such information through its social outreach efforts.

Mr. Singh re-iterated that “A government’s job is to defend the liberty of every citizen, while addressing the harm caused by any irresponsible exercise of liberty. SBP’s manifesto outlines mature and well thought-out regulatory approach on all aspects of public policy. The recent alcohol ban in Kerala, the proposed ban in Bihar, and existing bans or significant restrictions in Gujarat, Maharashtra and other parts of India should be immediately reviewed.”

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Sleep Disturbances can Trigger Migraine Attacks: Study

Sleep disturbance linked to migraine risk

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A disturbed sleep can affect patients with Migraine. Pixabay

Researchers have found that nearly half of all patients who suffer migraines report sleep disturbance as a trigger for their headaches.

The research team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in US conducted a study using objective measures of sleep to date to evaluate the relationship between sleep and migraine headaches.

The study’s findings, published in the journal Neurology, generally support patients’ reports of sleep disturbance as a trigger for migraines.

In the assessments and actigraphy measurements, the research team observed that sleep fragmentation — time spent in bed, but not asleep — was linked to migraine onset not on the next day but rather the day after that.

“Sleep is multi-dimensional, and when we look at certain aspects such as sleep, we found that low sleep efficiency, which is the amount of time you’re awake in bed when you’re trying to sleep, was associated with migraines not on the day immediately following, but on the day after that,” said study researcher Suzanne Bertisch from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in US.

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Time spent in bed, but not being asleep is linked to migraine onset not on the next day but a day after that. Pixabay

For the results, Bertisch and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of 98 adults with episodic migraines, who reported at least two headaches, but had fewer than 15 days each month with a headache.

The participants completed electronic diaries twice a day, recording details about their sleep, headaches and health habits for six weeks.

During that time, they also wore a wrist actigraph to bed to objectively capture their sleep patterns.

The team adjusted data for other migraine triggers, including daily caffeine intake, alcohol intake, physical activity, stress and more.

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Over the course of six weeks, participants reported 870 headaches. Nightly sleep duration of 6.5 hours or less and poor sleep quality were not associated with migraines the day immediately following (Day Zero) or the day after that (Day One).

However, sleep fragmentation measured by both diary and actigraphy were associated with higher odds of having a migraine on Day One, the study said. (IANS)