In Canada more than half of the population is under threat from a drinking problem. This result is based on the study done by University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. compared drinking patterns of the province with that of rest of Canada. These were based on the Canadian Addiction Survey done in 2004.
The findings were that 73 per cent of respondents exceeded the guidelines for alcohol consumption and 53 per cent were above less conservative international guidelines.
"There is no doubt that alcohol is Canada's favourite drug. Illicit drugs get more headlines but alcohol causes more harm in terms of premature deaths and in health, social and economic costs." Was the opinion of director of centre Dr. Tim Stockwell.
"Among males aged 14 to 24, 90 per cent of alcohol was consumed above the low-risk level. For young females, the figure was 85 per cent. The culture around drinking, particularly for young people, is to get drunk," Stockwell said.
According to the Canada's low-drinking guidelines:
1) 14 or fewer standard drinks per week for men with no more than two on any one day.
2) Nine or fewer drinks weekly for women with no more than two on any one day.
Standard drinks include one small bottle of beer, a medium-sized glass of wine, or a shot of spirits.
Stockwell said the government should do more to reduce the amount of drinking among all age groups. Small amounts of alcohol can have health benefits, but people need to be more aware of what constitutes healthy versus unhealthy levels, he said.
The response rate was 44 per cent in B.C. and 47 per cent in Canada, which the authors expect underestimates the level of alcohol consumption since heavy drinkers may not have been well represented. So the findings could have been even greater.