June 18, 2013 - 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 of sale.
- 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
- 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
- The Smart Serve
Responsible Beverage Service program is encouraged to incorporate
scenario-based activities into its training program and to require
- 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 Health Organization.
"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.
Media Contact: Michael Torres, CAMH
Media Relations (416) 595 6015 or firstname.lastname@example.org