The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has released a new provincial summary report: Reducing Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Ontario. The goal of the project was to encourage more uptake of evidence-informed prevention and policy initiatives that reduce alcohol-related harms in Canada. This project documented current alcohol policy initiatives across Canada, drawing comparisons between each provincial approach.. It also highlighted policy strengths in each of these jurisdictions, providing recommendations on how to improve weaker policy areas and disseminate this up-to-date information to major stakeholders and policymakers in each jurisdiction. The report makes the following 10 recommendations:
- Adjust 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.
- Limit the availability of alcohol by reducing the hours of operation, starting with LCBO-licensed agency stores in smaller rural communities.
- Strengthen drinking and driving regulations by lengthening license suspension periods, particularly for repeat offenders, and impounding vehicles during suspension.
- Prohibit the advertisement of price or sales incentives by all alcohol retailers and tightening restrictions on sponsorship, specifically those targeting youth and young adults.
- Encourage the province to support a consistent physician screening, referral and brief intervention protocol by implementing a fee for service code that is specific to these activities.
- Encourage the Smart Serve Responsible Beverage Service program to incorporate scenario-based activities into its training program and to require periodic retraining.
- 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.
For more information go to: www.camh.ca