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In the first two and half months of 2018, police recorded 59 road traffic offences that involved collisions, crashes or accidents. Five of the accidents were fatal and most of the accidents were alcohol-related involving Hyundai buses and male drivers of between 18 to 25 years old.

In Vanuatu, there is very little awareness on how to drink responsibly. While there are occasional workshops run by police or posters at youth centers, the ongoing advocacy calling for responsible drinking is non-existent. It is common to find people under 18 drinking at nightclubs or being able to purchase alcohol underage from shops. Only recently police started to fine people for drinking under the influence.

While Vanuatu is starting to take action on responsible drinking, people are still very unaware of their rights and responsibility when it comes to drinking alcohol.

According to the Crime Prevention Unit, this is what you need to know about drinking:

  • If you get drunk in a public place and disturb the peace, you can be arrested and imprisoned for three months.
  • If you drink and drive, you can be imprisoned for 1 year and have to pay a fine of Vt100,000.
  • If a driver drives a bus, taxi or public transport while drinking alcohol, the court will decide their penalty.
  • Passengers are not allowed to drink alcohol on public transport
  • If you sell or give alcohol to anyone under 18 years old, you will pay a fine of Vt25,000 and may face three months imprisonment.
  • If you are under the age of 18 but drink or have in your possession any alcohol, you will be fined Vt10,000.

Here are some tips for responsible drinking:

  • Sapos yu draev, yu no dring!
  • Sapos yu dring, askem wan fren we i no dring blong hemi draev.
  • Yu no mas dring taem gat i fas. Kaekae gud fastaem
  • Taem yu dring alkol, mek sua se yu dring fulap wota

If you are 18 years old, you are legally allowed to drink – just be smart about it!

This article was originally published in the April edition of the Vanuatu Daily Post Life and Style magazine.