South Korean Alcohol Companies sued by Customers

South Korean Alcohol Companies sued by Customers

26 alcoholics in South Korea are attempting to sue alcohol companies for glamorous ads , hiding the real dangers of alcohol.

Last month in South Korea, 26 people filed a class-action lawsuit against Hite Jinro, Muhak, Korea Alcohol Industrial, the Korea Alcohol and Liquor Industry Association, the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) and the government.

The 26 people petitioning against the alcohol industry are all being treated for alcoholism, and claim that the alcohol companies do not do enough to inform the people of the addictive nature of alcohol and the health damages it can cause. They also claim that the advertisements are ‘huge’ and the warning labels ‘tiny’, which does nothing to showcase the dangers of the substance, but only further glamorises it.

This may be the first case in South Korea where the citizens have tried to sue alcohol companies, but it is definitely not the first around the world. In 2012, the Native American tribe, Oglala Sioux from South Dakota, USA, sued several beer stores and manufacturers who were said to have knowingly sold alcohol to members of the tribe who were suffering from alcoholism –blaming them for their alcohol problems.

Another case from the USA is a tale of 5 inmates from Idaho who attempted to sue liquor and beer companies for a sum of $1 billion. In prison for crimes from manslaughter to grand theft, each of the 5 men claimed that without the involvement of alcohol, none of these crimes would have taken place. And, they claimed that prior to their becoming alcoholics they had absolutely no idea that alcohol was an addictive substance.

Both cases in the U.S. were thrown out of the courts with no money awarded. Will the same thing happen in Korea?

Regardless of the outcome, it does beg the question: Is the world really putting enough emphasis on the fact that alcohol can be addictive? In the USA, drug and alcohol programmes are taught in elementary school, and then again in high school. It is made well known at that time that drugs and alcohol are harmful, addictive substances. But is that enough? Are kids being properly educated on the disease of addiction?

Until youth fully understand the nature of addiction – that it is not a lack of will power and people cannot just stop when they want to – will the disease of addiction ever get under control? Perhaps, instead of drug prevention programmes that teach youth about the effect of each drug and its dangers –drug prevention should also focus on the actual disease of addiction – the warning signs, the genetic factors – everything to help our youth make informed decisions as they grow older.

Regardless of the result of these cases, alcohol is indeed an incredibly addictive substance. If you or someone you know is showing signs of an alcohol or drug addiction, contact a professional to see what you can do.

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