TORONTO, June 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health (CAMH) has released a Provincial Summary report outlining policy
strategies to reduce the harms related to alcohol.
In the report titled 'Reducing Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Ontario: A Provincial
Summary Report,' CAMH Senior Scientist Norman Giesbrecht outlines Ontario's policy
strengths and provides recommendations to help decrease the $2.9
billion attributed annually to the direct and indirect costs of alcohol
use in Ontario.
"While there are policy measures in place, there is still work to be
done in various areas, such as alcohol pricing and advertising in order
to address drinking behaviours that can be harmful," said Dr.
Giesbrecht. "For instance, we know that more than 75 per cent of
Ontarians consume alcohol, and that approximately 22 per cent of
Ontarians drink above the recommended drinking guidelines."
Positioning alcohol use as a public health matter, Dr. Giesbrecht is
recommending 10 policy improvements:
Adjusting alcohol prices to keep pace with inflation, preventing alcohol
prices from becoming cheaper relative to other goods over time.
Maintain government run monopolies which regulate access to alcohol by
maintaining effective alcohol control strategies such as enforcement of
the legal drinking age, the regulation of pricing, and hours and days
Consider increasing the minimum legal drinking age to 21 years of age.
Limiting the availability of alcohol by reducing the hours of operation,
starting with LCBO licensed agency stores in smaller rural communities.
Strengthening drinking and driving regulations by lengthening license
suspension periods, particularly for repeat offenders, and impounding
vehicles during suspension.
Prohibiting the advertisement of price or sales incentives by all
alcohol retailers and tightening restrictions on sponsorship,
specifically those targeting youth and young adults.
Ontario is encouraged to support a consistent physician screening,
referral and brief intervention protocol by implementing a fee for
service code that is specific to these activities.
The Smart Serve Responsible Beverage Service program is encouraged to
incorporate scenario-based activities into its training program and to
require periodic retraining.
Implement mandatory alcohol warning labels on alcohol packaging that
include topics relevant to alcohol use such as drinking and driving,
the risks of underage drinking, and chronic diseases.
Develop a provincial alcohol strategy that emphasizes alcohol specific
policies and interventions that have been recommended by the World
"In order to refine and implement these recommendations it will require
leadership, commitment to reducing alcohol-related harms and a spirit
of collaboration among key stakeholders," said Dr. Giesbrecht.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical
care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to
help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and
addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with
the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health
Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For
more information, please visit www.camh.ca.
SOURCE: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
For further information:
Media Contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations (416) 595 6015 or firstname.lastname@example.org