There were more hospital admissions in Canada last year for alcohol-related conditions than for heart attacks. At a total of 77,000 cases, that’s more than 200 people a day, on average, not counting those treated in emergency departments and released. Admissions ran the gamut from alcohol poisoning to alcohol withdrawal, liver disease, and chronic alcohol abuse.
Excessive drinking carries a number of known health risks, including illnesses such as pancreatitis, liver cirrhosis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – not to mention the risk of death.
Canada’s Public Health Agency says that alcohol is a leading cause of injury and death, and includes those resulting from impaired driving as well as from illnesses with known links to alcohol, like certain types of cancer.
Moreover, alcohol abuse doesn’t harm just the abuser – there are accompanying social costs as well. These include lost productivity, strain on law enforcement, unemployment, crime and the impact on people other than the drinker. The toll excessive drinking takes on families and coworkers is complex and far-reaching, influenced by both social and cultural factors.
One approach to curbing consumption is to make liquor more expensive – the same as with cigarettes. “It will take a strategy that brings together multiple effective policies,” said Geoff Hynes, manager of the Canadian Population Health Initiative for CIHI.
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Read the full story at CBC.ca.