print header

MOH Column

Current   2017   2016   2015   2014   2013    2012    2011

Are you Ready to be Thirsty?

Jan 28, 2015
When I was approached to participate in an alcohol-free challenge for the month of February as part of the health unit’s Ready to be Thirsty campaign, I saw it as a great opportunity to raise awareness about the impacts of immoderate alcohol consumption on people's health in Simcoe Muskoka.

When I was approached to participate in an alcohol-free challenge for the month of February as part of the health unit’s Ready to be Thirsty campaign, I saw it as a great opportunity to raise awareness about the impacts of immoderate alcohol consumption on people's health in Simcoe Muskoka.

The trend in recent years has been an increase in harmful levels of alcohol consumption, with higher levels of consumption in our communities compared to the provincial average. This trend has been consistent in Simcoe Muskoka since 2003, with 25-30 per cent of adults reporting they consume more alcohol than recommended by Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines.

Drinking above the Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines significantly increases the risk of disease and injury. In Ontario, alcohol consumption is causally related to more than 65 medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, while also being a significant risk factor in injuries, from motor vehicle collisions to suicides.

Many of these harms are not only incurred by the individual consuming alcohol, but are also felt by others in their family and community.  This concept, known as second-hand effects of alcohol consumption, includes but is not limited to: violence, emotional abuse, impaired driving, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and impacts on workplaces, health care and policing.

Leadership is required to address these issues and their underlying cause, and such leadership is better enabled when the general public understands the need for provincial and municipal policies to achieve a culture of moderation. I would be happy if my participation can help move us in this direction, and if it encourages other community leaders to participate.

At time of writing, we have succeeded in recruiting participation from one local municipal leader, Midland mayor and former Board of Health member Gord McKay. We hope to have others involved before the challenge is over at the end of February.

To join the challenge, use #R2BT on Twitter or Facebook and let the health unit know why you are participating. For more information about Ready to be Thirsty and learning about your own relationship with alcohol, visit smdhu.org/thirst, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

-30-

 Dr. Gardner is Simcoe Muskoka’s medical officer of health.

Current and archived MOH Columns are stored here. Earlier MOH Columns are maintained in an archive and can be retrieved by contacting the Health Unit during business hours.
Did you find what you were looking for?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?
Page
Feedback

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...