Monday, 08 February 2021 18:54

Staff Reporter.

Diageo South Africa, together with the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Soweto (SANCA Soweto) and local comedian and broadcaster, Felix Hlophe, is challenging South African consumers to make more responsible drinking choices by offering a free bank of evidence-based information on alcohol consumption, and professional advice.

DRINKiQ.com, an online resource developed by Diageo and initiated globally, was recently re-launched with a new look and feel to provide updated and comprehensive information on alcohol to the South African public. The database includes useful tools, facts and support around issues of alcohol consumption from alcohol's potential health and safety dangers, to the opportunity for more enjoyable social experiences when taken in moderation, expert advice on how to enhance general physical and mental well-being, and where to find professional assistance where needed. The information is based on academic and medical research compiled and approved by internationally recognised industry bodies, and includes important alcohol consumption guidelines, policies and regulations rubberstamped by governments around the world.

Information at the disposal of consumers on DRINKiQ includes, amongst others, the effects of drinking alcohol on mental health; how drinking effects pregnancy and breastfeeding; how to be a more mindful drinker for a more positive drinking experience; myths about drinking alcohol; how the body processes alcohol; how to talk to a teen if they are drinking alcohol; and the physical, mental and biological effects of drinking on the underage.

"One of the most prominent issues raised during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in South Africa, is the serious impact that alcohol abuse has on the country and its people. As producers, Diageo SA believes in taking ownership for its role in helping tackle the problem and building onto the organisation's more than two decades of work in this area," says Lebogang Mashigo, Sustainability Manager, Corporate Relations, Diageo SA.

"DRINKiQ is one of the initiatives we have implemented over the years to help curb the problem of alcohol abuse in South Africa. It is putting easily accessible information on alcohol consumption in the hands of consumers so that their knowledge is broadened, and they are able to make better and more responsible decisions when it comes to their drinking behaviour and instead increase their relationship with alcohol. We are raising the drink IQ of South Africans," says Mashigo.

Felix Hlophe, local radio personality and funny man, says that his aim through DRINKiQ is to build onto his personal efforts to inspire young South Africans to use their talent for good, and to help nurture their success. He also hopes to inspire others, who, like himself, have the necessary resources to act as role models for future generations. "So many lives have been transformed with the right guidance. Many of us would not be where we are today without others who led the way, and we now need to take up the reins and do the same for those who will come after us.

"Success in life is often hindered by making the wrong choices and one of those choices is around alcohol. We need to encourage more responsible use and behaviour so that no one is prevented from achieving what they set out to do," says Hlophe.

In addition to the informative online resource, DRINKiQ offers a course and quiz, which visitors to the DRINKiQ website can take to determine the effects of alcohol on them and to gauge whether their relationship with alcohol is a responsible one.

SANCA Soweto aims to reach 15 000 people over a period of four months with DRINKiQ – using course information and the quiz to educate the public and its clients about alcohol. This will be done through a series of activations, including targeting clients at five of its sites in Soweto; high traffic shopping malls such as Maponya Mall in Soweto; educational talks on alcohol at clinics; and motorists moving through Grasmere Toll Plaza near Soweto.

The DRINKiQ resources have been integrated into SANCA's community outreach programmes at its Soweto-based sites. Content will be shared with clients who are referred to SANCA Soweto for support of their alcohol dependency issues and the DRINKiQ quiz will be available on welcome screens in SANCA site waiting rooms for clients to complete.

"Our partnership with Diageo SA and its DRINKiQ resource will ensure that we are able to enhance the content of our educational programmes with clients working through issues of alcohol dependency. We are also able to reach a broader community audience with information of alcohol and the potential effects consumption could have on them so that we are able to multiply our impact in society," says Shamim Garda, National Director, SANCA.  

Consumers are encouraged to visit the new website on www.DRINKiQ.com and take the DRINKiQ test.  

Those that need help with alcohol abuse can visit www.sancanational.info.