Outaouais residents drive drunk more often than other Quebecers, study finds

Outaouais residents consume alcohol in excess and drive while intoxicated more often than the provincial average, according to a new report.

More excessive consumption, intoxicated driving than Quebec average

A new report by Éduc'alcool has found that people in the Outaouais region of western Quebec are more likely to drink excessively compared to the provincial average. (CBC)

People in the Outaouais have some of the worst alcohol consumption habits in the province, according to a new report.

The survey by Quebec non-profit Éduc'alcool found a higher-than-average number of Quebec residents in the Outaouais consumed alcohol in excess, drove while intoxicated and reported that their drinking habits affected their home and social lives. 

It's the largest ever survey comparing the drinking habits of people living in different regions of Quebec, according to the organization, which promotes responsible drinking habits.

It noted several contradictions in the way residents in the Outaouais drink alcohol compared to the rest of the province.

For example, the survey found western Quebec respondents were less likely to drink alcohol each week than other Quebecers, but were more likely to drink excessively.

Some 83 per cent of people surveyed in that region said they had consumed alcohol in the last 12 months, a number approximately two per cent lower than the average for the province.

But 40 per cent of Outaouais respondents said they had consumed beyond the recommended limits each month in the last year, higher than the 34 per cent provincial average.

Almost 60 per cent reported having consumed alcohol excessively in the last year.

Throughout the province, the most commonly consumed alcoholic beverage was wine, with beer a close second. 

Drinking and driving more common 

Residents of the Outaouais are also more likely to drive intoxicated, the report said. 

Twelve per cent of people surveyed said they believed they had driven after drinking more than the legal limit, compared to the provincial average of eight per cent.

Of those surveyed, 50 per cent said they believed it was likely they would be stopped at a police checkpoint if they drove while under the influence of alcohol.

In a French-language statement, executive director of Éduc'alcool Hubert Sacy called intoxicated driving "a real scourge."

The survey also found that residents in the Outaouais were the most likely in the province to consume alcohol and cannabis together, with 27 per cent of respondents reporting that they had done so.

The provincial average was 24 per cent. 

Researchers interviewed more than 6,700 people ages 15 and up throughout the province between Feb. 19 and March 14 in their choice of French or English.

The minimum number of respondents was at least 350 per region. CROP says they roughly share the gender, age, regional and language breakdown of the province as a whole.

They commission polling firm CROP to do these surveys every two years, though the 2019 edition can't be compared to the two previous versions in 2015 and 2017 because of a new method this time using online and telephone surveys, compared to telephone surveys alone.


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