Free-alcohol New Year campaign kicks off in Bangkok

A campaign for an alcohol-free New Year holiday kicked off on Wednesday, with civic groups, students and victims of drink-drive accidents, rallying in Bangkok's main landmark intersection of Victory Monument in Bangkok.

In a bid to discourage alcohol consumption and giving alcoholic beverages as New Year gifts, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, a subsidiary health agency under the Ministry of Public Health and also the main lead in Wednesday's campaign "Giving safe gift-Alcohol Free party," told the crowd to "remain vigilant, as alcohol kills."

"We have continuously campaigned against drink-driving, ask people to stay away from drinking and not giving alcoholic beverages as gifts," said Dr. Supreda Adulyanon, president of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, "Our recent survey showed that 8.8 percent of respondents admitted to receiving alcoholic beverages as gifts."

On last New Year holiday, drink-driving was the main cause of road accidents, standing at 43.66 percent, with a total number of deaths at 463, Supreda said.

At Wednesday's free-alcohol campaign, young people convicted of drink-and-drive were also seen rallying at the event. Some shared their experiences as drinkers and smokers.

There are estimated 22.5 million drinkers in Thailand, according to Supreda.

Thailand's Road Safety Directing Centre said drink-driving was listed as the cause of 40 percent of the 3,791 collisions reported between 27 December, 2018 and 2 January, 2019.

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