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Ontario needs a Provincial Alcohol Strategy

May 10, 2017

Alcohol is an addictive drug, and its misuse generates enormous health and social costs for Ontario. It is a major contributor to chronic disease, social problems and injury.

The Ontario government recently announced and re-affirmed that there will be a funded, multi-ministerial strategy in place to combat Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Furthermore, the Ontario Budget 2017 includes an investment of $26 million over four years to expand support for children, youth and families affected by FASD.  FASD has huge public health implications in terms of personal, societal and economic costs so this announcement is welcome news.

However, the OPHA Alcohol workgroup is calling on Ontario to fulfill its commitment to create a comprehensive, province wide strategy to develop initiatives to support safe consumption of alcohol, especially in light of the ongoing expansion of alcohol sales in Ontario. Drawing on experience with other health and social issues, it is feasible to overcome the challenges presented by alcohol related harms through a coordinated, comprehensive and well-resourced provincial alcohol strategy. Such a strategy would build a supportive infrastructure in Ontario to reduce, prevent and address alcohol related issues and harms such as high risk drinking, injury, FASD, chronic and infectious disease, addiction, and crime; and would address the unique needs of Ontario and its diverse populations.

– Alcohol Workgroup May Blog Post