Canadians Need The Government To Start Focusing Efforts To Alcohol As Well As Illicit Drugs

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Because of the commercials we see on television regarding marijuana use in Canada, and how terrible it is for the brain, and the frequent news stories about prescription drugs and the way heroin seems to be destroying entire communities, we forget that one of the worst drugs out there is a legal one. Well, if you’re under the age of 18 (19 in some provinces) it isn’t legal, not that it stops many teens with fake drivers licenses, but yes, it is legal to purchase from grocery stores and government run liquor stores nation wide. The fact that it’s legal may fool some people into thinking it’s safer than illicit drugs, for example, but for the most part Canadians know just how dangerous it can be and there is a call for action on behalf of the government to act on alcohol and the destructive influence it can have on our health, mental health and in our homes. According to the Canadian Center for Substance Abuse, the Harper government has put in a considerable amount of money and effort into waging a campaign against illicit drugs like opiates, marijuana and cocaine. But the organization believes it’s time that the same measures be applied to the worst offender of them all, alcohol. The government has a $570-million National Anti-Drug Strategy that is seriously lacking in the alcohol department, and groups and individuals across the country desperately want alcohol to be a part of that allocation of funds.

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.

Experts are pointing to the fact that alcohol has been given somewhat of a free pass compared to other substances. They say it all comes down to history, politics and culture and that none of those things should really matter when it comes to the health of Canadians. They say that for most people, and in most circumstances, alcohol is still more harmful than marijuana for example, a drug that the federal government is focusing on. Obviously all forms of drugs should be given attention, whether they be legal or illegal. Ads regarding marijuana and their effects on the developing brain (aimed at teenagers) are now being aired on a number of Canadian television stations and their message is presented strongly, but fairly as they are attempting to reach out to parents in order to start a conversation about pot. It would make sense, then, that the same measures be taken in regards to alcohol as many teens will experiment with it and could potentially harm themselves through alcohol poisoning or because they get into a car with a drunk driver. The point being made by various groups who want more attention to be paid to alcohol isn’t to ignore other substances, but to include alcohol in the policies and government funding in order to inform Canadians about the health and safety risks, as well as putting a dent in alcohol-related crime and other behaviors caused by over-drinking.



Canadians Need The Government To Start Focusing Efforts To Alcohol As Well As Illicit Drugs