N.W.T. has highest binge drinking rate in Canada
Drinking rates remain high in all three territories
Posted: Jul 5, 2012 4:38 PM CT
Last Updated: Jul 7, 2012 11:00 AM CT
Binge drinking is on the rise in Canada and people in the Northwest Territories are the heaviest drinkers in the country.
A 2011 Canadian Community Health Survey defined binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks at a time, at least once a month.
In Statistics Canada's latest survey, 19 per cent of Canadians said they were heavy drinkers, compared to 17 per cent in the previous year. That 2011 survey pegs the N.W.T with the highest rate of drinkers at 31 per cent.
The results were nothing new.
“All years of data that we have right now from 2003 to 2011, it's always been significantly higher than the national average in the Northwest Territories,” said Amanda Wright, of Statistics Canada.
Dana Heide, associate deputy minister of health in the N.W.T., said the results were not surprising.
“We have a history in the Northwest Territories in the fallout of residential schools, colonization, the move to a wage-based economy. It’s very much a social dislocation over the past 50 years, has been incredible.”
The numbers were high across the north.
In Nunavut, the number of people binge drinking doubled in 2011, from 13 per cent to 26 per cent. Nunavut has the third highest rate of heavy drinkers, after the N.W.T. and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Yukon had the fourth highest in the country.
But, Heide said the N.W.T. has come a long way since 2003. He said there are more programs now than in the past to keep youth on the right track.
“It's about the work that schools are doing in communities. And it's about what communities are doing to generally to increase young people’s attachment to their culture, their language in their communities,” he said.
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