OTTAWA — The Harper government, which has waged a long and aggressive campaign against illicit drug use, should put more energy into the battle against alcohol abuse, according to the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse.
The Health Canada-funded organization wants the federal government to include alcohol in its $570-million National Anti-Drug Strategy that was launched shortly after the Conservatives took power in 2006.
The Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, which has already gone public to call on Ottawa to undertake a study on the public health implications of decriminalization or legalization of pot, argues that alcohol causes far more harm in Canada than drugs.
Alcohol causes more deaths than lung cancer and more hospital stays than all other substances combined, the organization argues in a brief submitted to the House of Commons finance committee that is seeking public input on Budget 2015.
It is also closely linked to spousal abuse and fatal motor vehicle crashes, and according to a 2002 study on crime, the cost of alcohol-related offences was $3.1 billion, versus $2.3 billion for drug offences.
“Renewed efforts to reduce the prevalence and harms of alcohol abuse could alleviate burdens on our enforcement, justice, health and social care systems,” the centre stated in its submission to the finance committee.
A B.C. criminologist urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to follow the advice of the independent federal body that provides advice on substance abuse.
“The line that we have drawn between legal and illegal drugs has everything to do with history, politics and culture, and almost nothing to do with public health,” Neil Boyd, director of Simon Fraser University’s school of criminology.
“For most people and in most circumstances, alcohol is a drug that is much more destructive to health than cannabis.”
The federal government has allocated $570 million since 2007-08 for its multi-pronged strategy that involves numerous departments, from justice to Health Canada to foreign affairs.
Funded programs include those involved in gathering drug-related foreign financial intelligence, forensic accounting, tax compliance, border patrols, drug prosecution, drug treatment, and health promotion and education efforts especially involving youth.
The proposal doesn’t make a specific recommendation on how Ottawa would bring alcohol into the strategy, but suggests the federal government could join forces with the existing federal and provincial government departments, organizations and the alcohol industry that are already collaborating on ways to discourage excessive boozing.
“Given its overall emphasis on youth substance abuse prevention, the National Anti-Drug Strategy also provides a mechanism by which the Government of Canada can address alcohol abuse among the country’s young people, ensuring they have the best opportunity to enjoy positive economic, social and health outcomes in later life.”
A spokesman for Health Minister Rona Ambrose didn’t comment specifically on the proposal, saying the government will review all submissions before the budget is tabled in early 2015.
Via The Vancouver Sun
…really Canada? Am I being Punk’d? Is this the Onion? That fucking headline is the least Canadian thing that I’ve ever even thought aboot. Let me get this straight. Canadians want to go to war on drinking? Did I read that right? Listen Candada. You do two things pretty fucking well: you stay the fuck out of wars, and you drink. Now don’t go telling me you’re going to do a complete 180 (or whatever metric system shit they use up there) and start going to war on the very thing that makes you Canadian besides hockey. And hockey wouldn’t even be hockey if it wasn’t for booze, I’ve seen Slapshot. I fully believe this is one of those articles people put out just to fuck with people to see if anyone is actually paying attention, but if it’s true, then congratulations Canada, you’re officially completely nonexistent to me.