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There were two things that saw the limelight last week, the beer prices, and criminal groups in the North. The slash in beer prices received mixed responses from the public. Many were not happy about it, but some welcomed the move.

Maybe the price slash would help the country would help the country in bringing in money from foreign tourists. But whether it was a smart move or not is something that we have to wait and see. Sri Lankans do love their alcohol, some a bit too much. It has its effect on people. Apart from transforming a person from sane to insane, it has also created several social issues, from domestic violence to theft, to murder. Reducing the prices of alcohol is a bit tricky, and could work both ways. It could bring in more revenue, and it could result in more social issues.

Therefore, the government has to have a mechanism to curtail alcohol addiction in the country. The other topic which was discussed was the violence in the North and emergence of criminal groups in the peninsula. While the government had cancelled all leaves of police personnel deployed in the region, Minister of Law and Order had assured that the government would not allow criminal gangs to raise their heads in the North. But both these instances have a connection.

Since of late, concerns had been raised by people and officials over the increasing number of alcohol addicts among the youngsters in the North. The rise in the number of violence in the North has been attributed to the increase in alcohol addiction among the youth. We had a situation where the youth lost their lives due to the war.

Now we have a situation where they are losing their way due to addiction to alcohol. Unfortunately, the politicians are focused on drafting a new Constitution instead of paving the right path to the youth they represent. This is not an issue that concerns the North alone.

It also affects the lives of those in the estate sector where alcohol consumption is relatively high. It is the duty of the government to analyse all types of impacts before implementing a decision. It cannot satisfy all, but, it should be implemented in a way that it does not harm the lives of the people. Many love alcohol, but they do know its consequences if consumed too much.