Although the majority of Canadians who drink alcohol do so in moderation, alcohol misuse affects too many Canadians. In fact, it is estimated that 4 to 5 million Canadians engage in high risk drinking, which is linked to motor vehicle accidents, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other health issues, family problems, crime and violence.
Depending on how much you drink, alcohol can be linked to both chronic and acute alcohol-related harms. Chronic alcohol-related harms include cancer, liver cirrhosis and other diseases and illnesses. Acute alcohol-related harms include alcohol poisoning, physical and (or) verbal fights and accidents.
The Health Portfolio plays an important role in addressing alcohol-related harm. A number of initiatives are aimed at reducing alcohol misuse among Canadians, such as:
- the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP)
- the Pan-Canadian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Initiative
- the First Nations and Inuit FASD program
- mental health and addictions research, including alcohol and research on the prevention, treatment and diagnosis of FASD [funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)]
- The Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey
On November 25th 2011, the first ever pan-Canadian low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines were launched by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA). Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines provide Canadians with information on how to minimize risks from their own and others' drinking. They were developed through the National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee, which is made up of representatives from non-governmental organizations, academia, federal and provincial governments and industry.
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse provides additional resources and frequently asked questions about the guidelines.
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