Alcohol is the most abused drug in Canada. People are probably drinking less now than they did in the past, but alcoholism continues to be a significant issue for society and individuals. Binge drinking has become increasingly popular in recent years, and there is a real problem with underage drinking.
Drinking alcohol is a popular pastime in Canada. It is considered to be a beer drinking nation, because this beverage is consumed much more than wine or sprits. About 51 percent of money spent on alcohol goes on beer. Most people only ever drink socially. This means that they avoid binge drinking and rarely suffer from any negative consequences as a result of their intake. A social drinker has no problem giving up alcohol, and weeks can go by when they do not touch the stuff. For many of these people, consumption of alcohol is limited to special occasions. There are also a significant number of Canadians who drink well above the recommended level. There are also those who regularly binge drink and suffer consequences as a result of this. Underage drinking is a serious problem in Canada, and so is alcoholism.
Heavy drinking is three times more likely to occur among those aged between 15 and 24. It is believed that about four percent of Canadians could be labeled as alcoholics. In 2002, it was found that 600,000 Canadians were physically dependent on alcohol. Approximately 2,000 people die each year as a result of alcoholic liver disease. Many of those individuals who abuse alcohol also use illegal drugs on top of this.
In 2011, the Canadian Medical Association Journal warned the public that binge drinking is out of control. It is believed that 9 percent of Canadians regularly binge drink. This is where they consume an excessive amount of alcohol in a short time period (more than five drinks in less than two hours). Binge drinking is the most dangerous pattern of alcohol consumption because:
* It means that their blood alcohol content can reach dangerous levels. When this happens the individual begins to suffer the effects of alcohol poisoning. They could then choke on their own vomit or fall into a coma.
* If people binge drink, they increase their risk of developing alcoholism. This condition can completely destroy the life of the individual as well as their family.
* Alcohol can be highly toxic in high doses. The individual does not need to be drinking for many years before they develop cirrhosis. The early stages of alcohol liver disease can begin after one episode of binge drinking. Binge drinking can damage the brain and almost every other organ in the body.
* This pattern of drinking is the one most likely to lead to hangovers. This means that the individual will be less productive the next day. If an individual has too many hangovers, it can begin to negatively impact their career.
* Teenagers in Canada are among the most likely to be involved in binge drinking. This means that they will not be able perform well in school or college.
* When the individual’s blood alcohol content rises quickly they risk developing alcohol induced amnesia. These blackouts can be highly stressful because the individual will have no idea about what they did the night before.
* Binge drinking makes people more prone to accidents. Many individuals end up in the hospital because of carelessness while under the influence.
* This pattern of drinking makes people more likely to commit a crime or become the victim of crime. This is because alcohol impacts the individual’s normal inhibitions and they can struggle to make good decisions when inebriated.
* People tend to be more promiscuous when they binge drink. This increases their risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases. It also increases the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies.
It is believed that as many as 83 percent of teenagers in Canada consume alcohol. Around 5 percent of these regularly binge drink. Back in 1996, underage drinking was responsible for 3,500 deaths and 2,000,000 injuries. A 2002 survey found that 20 percent of eight graders had consumed alcohol within the previous month. The consequences of underage drinking can be high for the individual as well as society as a whole because:
* Those people who begin drinking at a young age are the most likely to later go on to develop alcoholism.
* Excessive alcohol intake can interfere with the normal process of development that needs to occur in adolescence. It can have serious consequences for brain development.
* Young people who binge drink tend to underperform at school. This can have a significant impact on their future opportunities in life.
* It can lead to teenage pregnancies and sexual assaults.
* It can lead young people to experiment with illegal drugs.
* There is a definite connection between underage drinking and risk of suicide. Many young people have taken their own life after drinking large amounts of alcohol.
Those individuals who are struggling with alcohol problems will find that there are a number of resources in Canada that can be of help. These are some of the most prominent:
* The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health can offer advice for anyone who is looking for help with their addiction problems in Canada.
* Alcoholics Anonymousis a 12 Step Group that not only supports people in their attempts to become sober, but also gives them a program for living in recovery.
* The Alcohol and Drug Information Service has been set up by the Ministry of Health and offers help for those living in British Columbia. Their toll free number can be used for anyone looking for advice about getting help for their addiction. Their telephone number is 1-800-663-1441.
* Some Canadian alcoholics are leaving the country in order to find help for their addiction. Some choose to go through rehab in exotic locations such as Thailand.