Canadian Researchers Call For Public Health Response To Alcohol Addiction

By Staff Writer

Public health efforts may be able to reduce the burden of alcohol and addiction, while reducing the need for drug rehab treatment, according to a new study from a team of Canadian researchers.

The study looked at the effects of alcohol on the country’s population. It found that the nation spent $3.3 billion on direct medical care for alcoholics in 2002. When indirect costs, such as lost productivity, were factored in, the total cost jumped to $14.6 billion.

In order to fight this troubling trend, researchers from Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Centre for Addiction Research of British Columbia and the University of Victoria suggested that public health agencies take several steps to reduce the number of people who are addicted to alcohol.

These steps include making high alcohol content beverages more expensive, eliminating discount vendors, restricting access to alcohol, increasing drunk driving penalties and advocating for healthcare providers to offer interventions to patients they suspect are dependent on the substance.

The researchers said in their report, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, that combining these approaches may help keep alcohol out of the hands of more people, and limit the number of individuals who become addicted.