CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada has recently released alcohol statistics for Ontario, for the year 2009 – finding that people in Ontario now have more mental health issues, and use more marijuana and alcohol than they have done in previous years.
The number of adults now drinking daily has increased from 5.3% in 2002 to over 9% in 2009, and the average number of drinks consumed per week has risen from three to four point six. One fifth of the Ontario population drinks alcohol at levels over the recommended guidelines. Drinking alcohol every day is against safe alcohol drinking guidelines.
People in Ontario show a pattern of more drinking of alcohol, and more regularly over recent years. see article:
Although there has been a decline among adults who drink and then drive, youth drinking alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car is unfortunately increasing. Without or without alcohol drinking young people cause more motor vehicle accidents than do older people, when alcohol is involved young people have an immense risk of becoming a statistic in a motor vehicle accident. However, the decline in adult drinking and driving might very well be explained in terms that with economic recession, and harder drunk driving laws, people are simply avoiding the need to drive after drinking, by drinking their alcohol in the home.
Drinking alcohol in the home might save you from drink driving, but it has its risks, one of which is encouragement of young children living at home to take up alcohol drinking. SAMHSA from the USA reports that over 700,000 children aged between 12 and 14 are routinely drinking alcohol, with more than 200,000 children in the past month drinking alcohol drinks given to them by their parents. In 2002, in the USA over 1.7 million youths met the criteria for alcohol abuse – around a quarter of a million received treatment leaving the vast majority of kids with no treatment at all, and it is reported that treatments available generally do not address the specific needs of young people. see report
The grim statistics above are a worry, but of even greater concern today is the fact that government organizations who are responsible to the public to provide health related information seem to hesitate between telling it like it really is, about alcohol use and addiction, about the health risks and problems that alcohol abuse causes and pandering to the self interest of the liquor industry, that provides employment for thousands of people and makes a major contribution towards public revenues.
Alcohol drinking is encouraged in our culture, accepted in our society – the result is widespread alcoholism, alcohol dependence. Children who begin drinking before the age of 15 are more likely than not to go on to continued alcohol drinking, and substance abuse in their late teens and early adulthood.
Problematic alcohol drinking in families is encouraged by parental, peer and social pressure for conformity, to fit in with the “group”, leading people to drink alcohol on a social basis. People find alcohol drinking brings temporary relief from personal anxiety, stress and depression. Whole communities can be affected where alcohol is widely used to resolve emotional tension.
CAMH reports that people tend to drink more alcohol the more freely it is available. However, locking the drinks cupboard has proven to be wholly ineffective to prevent alcohol dependent people from continued alcohol drinking.
People need to be aware that there are no health benefits in regular alcohol drinking. Studies where alcohol has been shown to help with hypertension are restricted to older people, and the recommended dose of alcohol is one drink on alternate days, preferably to be consumed while eating a meal. CAMH Canada says that young people should not drink alcohol at all.
Yet we see many articles that purport to promote alcohol benefits. It has taken legislation to stop alcohol advertising to kids, at sporting venues, and around schools that promotes alcohol drinking as being associated with success, achievement and winning.
When people begin to understand that alcohol effects are essentially detrimental, it can start them thinking about why they choose to use alcohol at all. The answer is basically that we use alcohol drinks because they are readily available, have a nice flavor, are relatively cheap – and make us feel stress free and happy. The problem with alcohol, like all drugs, is that its effects are temporary and withdrawal effects can intensify the problems that we use alcohol to resolve.
People in Ontario who have a problem with alcohol drinking, who would like to stop but don’t know how to, can get help from comprehensive alcohol addiction recovery programs for effective alcohol addiction recovery. Don’t continue to be just another Canadian statistic where alcohol dependence is concerned – make the effort and you can be free of the demons that drive us to drink.