Researchers at the University of Calgary have released some troubling statistics in a study on binge drinking.
Dr. Andrew Bulloch, deputy director of the Mathison Centre for Mental Health, found that 20 per cent of Canadians engage in binge drinking, which is defined as having at least five drinks at least once a month in the past year.
“It’s dangerous,” said Bulloch. “We think that alcohol is becoming more heavily advertised. It’s becoming more available, and it’s becoming cheaper.”
Bulloch added that people who show a pattern of binge drinking also show a loss of control over the use of alcohol. That means the behavior can progress into a dependency over time.
“It’s a warning sign,” said Bulloch, who proposed that successful attempts to regulate accessibility in other countries would point towards a need for local policy makers to make a change.
Dr. Scott Patten, who co-authored the study, said that binge drinking can have dangerous consequences.
“There is quite a link between depression and drinking,” said Patten.
But it doesn’t stop there. Patten said that violence, social problems, suicide, and a number of chronic diseases can also result from the excessive consumption of alcohol. He said it’s imperative that both health officials and policy makers take heed.
“Trends suggest tightening alcohol laws rather than loosening them. Or changes to the taxation, or regulations surrounding the marketing,” said Patten.
Some data that wasn’t released in the paper showed that almost 40 per cent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 are binge drinkers, something Bulloch attributes to a Canadian culture.
“I think it just becomes a cultural norm, but it doesn’t mean it’s morally or ethically acceptable,” said Bulloch.
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