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Canadian First Nations People Are 5 Times More Likely to Die from Alcohol Use than General Population

posted 01:06 AM EST, Mon October 12, 2009
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Canadian First Nations People Are 5 Times More Likely to Die from Alcohol Use than General Population © Photo Credit: Native American Seals/Logos

Provincial health advisor, Dr. Evan Adams, calls for intervention from within the First Nations community.

The alcohol related mortality rate amongst First Nations native Canadians in British Columbia is 5 times that of the general population – and a prominent Native Canadian doctor says that it’s time for aboriginal leaders to step up and take control of this appalling situation.

Dr. Even Adams, who serves as the aboriginal health advisor for the province, says that any initiatives have to occur from within the community, saying, "It's hard to bring it up in a safe way without sounding as if you are (buying in) to stereotypes. It has to be initiated by us - as First Nations - and it needs to happen at every level."

In the general population, 3.4 people in every 1000 suffer an alcohol related death. Amongst First Nations peoples in the province, that number jumps to a whopping 15.1 per 1000 people.

Some harm reduction strategies suggested include raising the price of alcohol on reserves and increasing educational programming on the dangers of alcohol abuse. Under the Indian Act, Native Canadian community leaders also have the right to impose a bylaw prohibiting the sale of alcohol in their respective communities, something that has been done by 17 out 203 Native Bands.

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