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Alcohol Abuse Costs Each Canadian $463 Per Year

posted 03:54 PM EST, Thu June 12, 2008
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Alcohol Abuse Costs Each Canadian $463 Per Year © Photo: Monstershaq2000

In a newly released report, the Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Addiction recommends 6 policy changes that they say could save 800 lives, and almost a billion dollars, each year.

Each and every of 30 million or so Canadians is billed an average of 463 dollars per year to pay for the societal costs of alcohol abuse.

In a just released study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, alcohol abuse is touted as more costly than even cancer, and costs Canadian taxpayers over 1 billion dollars per year.

The study, The avoidable Cost of Alcohol Abuse in Canada 2002, calls alcohol abuse one of the largest preventable expenses for the health care system, and they've come up with a number of proposal suggestions to reduce the economic burden. Six suggestions that they predict could save 800 Canadian lives, as well as free up 88 000 hospital bed/days, each year.

The suggestions include raising the drinking age to 21 from 19. Increasing taxes on alcohol and lowering the maximum permitted blood alcohol percentages for driving. Additionally, drivers under 21 would not be permitted to consume any alcohol prior to driving, alcohol servers (bartenders and waiters) would receive better education on interventions and doctors would be encouraged to step up routine screenings that would spot problem drinkers earlier.

Dr Jurgen Rehm, the Centre's senior scientist, claims that were government to follow their advice, taxpayers would save 230 million in Health care costs, 178 million in law and justice costs, and the economy would benefit from 561 million dollars in increased productivity.

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