We’re No. 1! Let’s drink to that. No, on second thought, maybe we shouldn’t. We’re clearly doing more than enough drinking already.
Statistics Canada has just released information on the number of Canadians who told the agency that they drank enough to be classified as heavy drinkers.
“In 2015, 19.2 per cent of Canadians aged 12 and older, or roughly 5.8 million people, reported alcohol consumption that classified them as heavy drinkers. Overall, males were more likely (24.1 per cent) to report heavy drinking than females (14.5 per cent) in 2015,” the analysis says.
The report says something else about heavy drinking: this province has more heavy drinkers not only than the national average, but more than other provinces as well.
Keeping that 19.2 per cent national average in mind, think about this: Quebec had 20.2 per cent heavy drinkers, Saskatchewan had 21.7 per cent, but far and away the leader was Newfoundland and Labrador.
Imagine what the numbers would be if every respondent was completely honest.
What constitutes a heavy drinker might surprise you. For the purposes of the study, a heavy drinker is a male who reported having five or more drinks, or women who reported having four or more drinks, on one occasion at least once a month in the past year.
The study also looked at consumption by minors. “Despite the laws that prevent underage drinking, youth are still able to consume alcoholic beverages. In 2015, 74.9 per cent of Canadian youth drank an alcoholic beverage in the previous 12 months and 40.8 per cent of them did so at least once a month,” the study said.
The study also asked respondents questions about their alcohol use during the preceding week - the answers might be of interest to anyone who looks at areas where we could reduce the cost of preventable health-care concerns. “Of the 5.8 million heavy drinkers in 2015, 73.1 per cent reported a level of alcohol consumption in the last week that put their long-term health at risk. Among Canadians who were not heavy drinkers, more than half (53.6 per cent) reported a level of consumption in the last week that poses long-term risks. On average, Canadians who were classified as heavy drinkers had 9.8 drinks in the past week, compared to non-heavy drinkers who consumed 1.6 drinks.”
Oh, and here are some other statistics, from the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp.: in 2015-16, the corporation sold 3,835,000 litres of spirits, 4,413,000 litres of wine, 2,117,000 litres of “refreshment beverages” like coolers and cider, and 6,809,000 litres of beer. In single-year sales compared to 2014-15, spirits may have dropped by 59,000 litres, but the beer, wine and the refreshment and cider categories grew by 551,000 litres, 200,000 litres and 97,000 litres, respectively. (And that doesn’t even include beer sold in non-NLC stores.)
Sobering numbers, for clearly a not-so-sober province.