Hamilton addictions expert concerned about fallout from expanded beer and wine sales

Community Jul 24, 2018 by Mike Pearson Ancaster News

Provincial government plans to expand the availability of beer and wine could be detrimental to those battling alcoholism, experts have warned.

In the July 12 throne speech, the Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Doug Ford reiterated its plan to “modernize the rules for selling beer and wine in Ontario” by expanding sales to corner stores, big box stores and additional grocery stores.

Dr. Jennifer Brasch, a psychiatrist in the concurrent disorders clinic at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, said expanded beer and wine sales could hurt vulnerable individuals looking to limit their exposure to alcohol.

One of the strategies often used when battling alcoholism is to avoid triggers to alcohol use. For example, within a relapse prevention approach, Brasch encourages patients to avoid people, places and things that could trigger the relapse of a substance abuse problem.

That could mean avoiding bars and restaurants and staying away from areas of the city where drug dealers are known to frequent.

“Many people with substance abuse problems are very impulsive,” said Brasch, who is also an associate professor 
in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences 
 at McMaster University.

“They have difficulty saying, ‘I won’t do that,’ and that’s why they avoid places where they could use substances.”

Brasch fears if beer and wine is available in corner stores, people with limited incomes could succumb to their impulses and spend money on alcohol instead of on nutritious food.

Pointing to research in British Columbia, Brasch said evidence has shown increased retail access to liquor leads to increased use and elevated rates of liver cirrhosis.

In its Community Alcohol Report, released last December, Hamilton’s public health services found about 65 per cent of Hamiltonians live within a 10-minute walk to one of the city’s 68 alcohol retail outlets. About 93 per cent of Hamiltonians live within 2.5 kilometres, or a 25-minute walk.

Among its sources, the city report cites a study co-sponsored by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, titled, Strategies to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Canada: A Comparison of Provincial Policies.

The report, which included input from three public health schools in Canada and the U.S., plus the Centre for Addictions Research in B.C. and MADD Canada, suggests expanded, privatized retail access leads to higher alcohol consumption.

“Moreover, not only does selling alcohol outside of government regulated outlets lead to an increase in availability, it also increases its perceived acceptability thereby resulting in higher levels of consumption,” the report states.

Former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne expanded beer and wine sales to 350 grocery stores provincewide, starting in 2015.

In promising to further expand beer and wine access, Ford said the plan would strike a balance between convenience and compliance with the law.

“Consumers will soon be able to grab a bottle of wine in the same location where they get their groceries for an evening dinner with guests, or grab a case of beer around the corner from where they live, so they can entertain friends,” Ford said in a news release during the provincial election campaign.

The PC party has indicated that all new points of sale would have to adhere to high standards of compliance and to regulations set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, similar to how the Beer Store and the LCBO are currently regulated.

Hamilton addictions expert concerned about fallout from expanded beer and wine sales

Studies suggest enhanced access can lead to negative outcomes

Community Jul 24, 2018 by Mike Pearson Ancaster News

Provincial government plans to expand the availability of beer and wine could be detrimental to those battling alcoholism, experts have warned.

In the July 12 throne speech, the Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Doug Ford reiterated its plan to “modernize the rules for selling beer and wine in Ontario” by expanding sales to corner stores, big box stores and additional grocery stores.

Dr. Jennifer Brasch, a psychiatrist in the concurrent disorders clinic at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, said expanded beer and wine sales could hurt vulnerable individuals looking to limit their exposure to alcohol.

One of the strategies often used when battling alcoholism is to avoid triggers to alcohol use. For example, within a relapse prevention approach, Brasch encourages patients to avoid people, places and things that could trigger the relapse of a substance abuse problem.

That could mean avoiding bars and restaurants and staying away from areas of the city where drug dealers are known to frequent.

“Many people with substance abuse problems are very impulsive,” said Brasch, who is also an associate professor 
in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences 
 at McMaster University.

“They have difficulty saying, ‘I won’t do that,’ and that’s why they avoid places where they could use substances.”

Brasch fears if beer and wine is available in corner stores, people with limited incomes could succumb to their impulses and spend money on alcohol instead of on nutritious food.

Pointing to research in British Columbia, Brasch said evidence has shown increased retail access to liquor leads to increased use and elevated rates of liver cirrhosis.

In its Community Alcohol Report, released last December, Hamilton’s public health services found about 65 per cent of Hamiltonians live within a 10-minute walk to one of the city’s 68 alcohol retail outlets. About 93 per cent of Hamiltonians live within 2.5 kilometres, or a 25-minute walk.

Among its sources, the city report cites a study co-sponsored by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, titled, Strategies to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Canada: A Comparison of Provincial Policies.

The report, which included input from three public health schools in Canada and the U.S., plus the Centre for Addictions Research in B.C. and MADD Canada, suggests expanded, privatized retail access leads to higher alcohol consumption.

“Moreover, not only does selling alcohol outside of government regulated outlets lead to an increase in availability, it also increases its perceived acceptability thereby resulting in higher levels of consumption,” the report states.

Former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne expanded beer and wine sales to 350 grocery stores provincewide, starting in 2015.

In promising to further expand beer and wine access, Ford said the plan would strike a balance between convenience and compliance with the law.

“Consumers will soon be able to grab a bottle of wine in the same location where they get their groceries for an evening dinner with guests, or grab a case of beer around the corner from where they live, so they can entertain friends,” Ford said in a news release during the provincial election campaign.

The PC party has indicated that all new points of sale would have to adhere to high standards of compliance and to regulations set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, similar to how the Beer Store and the LCBO are currently regulated.

Hamilton addictions expert concerned about fallout from expanded beer and wine sales

Studies suggest enhanced access can lead to negative outcomes

Community Jul 24, 2018 by Mike Pearson Ancaster News

Provincial government plans to expand the availability of beer and wine could be detrimental to those battling alcoholism, experts have warned.

In the July 12 throne speech, the Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Doug Ford reiterated its plan to “modernize the rules for selling beer and wine in Ontario” by expanding sales to corner stores, big box stores and additional grocery stores.

Dr. Jennifer Brasch, a psychiatrist in the concurrent disorders clinic at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, said expanded beer and wine sales could hurt vulnerable individuals looking to limit their exposure to alcohol.

One of the strategies often used when battling alcoholism is to avoid triggers to alcohol use. For example, within a relapse prevention approach, Brasch encourages patients to avoid people, places and things that could trigger the relapse of a substance abuse problem.

That could mean avoiding bars and restaurants and staying away from areas of the city where drug dealers are known to frequent.

“Many people with substance abuse problems are very impulsive,” said Brasch, who is also an associate professor 
in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences 
 at McMaster University.

“They have difficulty saying, ‘I won’t do that,’ and that’s why they avoid places where they could use substances.”

Brasch fears if beer and wine is available in corner stores, people with limited incomes could succumb to their impulses and spend money on alcohol instead of on nutritious food.

Pointing to research in British Columbia, Brasch said evidence has shown increased retail access to liquor leads to increased use and elevated rates of liver cirrhosis.

In its Community Alcohol Report, released last December, Hamilton’s public health services found about 65 per cent of Hamiltonians live within a 10-minute walk to one of the city’s 68 alcohol retail outlets. About 93 per cent of Hamiltonians live within 2.5 kilometres, or a 25-minute walk.

Among its sources, the city report cites a study co-sponsored by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, titled, Strategies to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Canada: A Comparison of Provincial Policies.

The report, which included input from three public health schools in Canada and the U.S., plus the Centre for Addictions Research in B.C. and MADD Canada, suggests expanded, privatized retail access leads to higher alcohol consumption.

“Moreover, not only does selling alcohol outside of government regulated outlets lead to an increase in availability, it also increases its perceived acceptability thereby resulting in higher levels of consumption,” the report states.

Former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne expanded beer and wine sales to 350 grocery stores provincewide, starting in 2015.

In promising to further expand beer and wine access, Ford said the plan would strike a balance between convenience and compliance with the law.

“Consumers will soon be able to grab a bottle of wine in the same location where they get their groceries for an evening dinner with guests, or grab a case of beer around the corner from where they live, so they can entertain friends,” Ford said in a news release during the provincial election campaign.

The PC party has indicated that all new points of sale would have to adhere to high standards of compliance and to regulations set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, similar to how the Beer Store and the LCBO are currently regulated.