REDUCING ALCOHOL RELATED HARMS Among the University Population SOC*4010 W 2013: Lisa Bell, Danielle Sutton, Mariya-Magdalena Gineva, Sean Paulset, Chris Porter TAKING FLIGHT: INCORPORATING HARM REDUCTION INTO OUR COMMUNITIES Content based on the “Taking Flight” Harm Reduction Forum (2013) Led by Wellington-Guelph Drug Strategy (WGDS) on March 20th 2013 • Stephanie Baker, Wilfred Laurier University Professor/Social Worker Harm Reduction and Concurrent Disorders •Cathy Edwards, Public Health Nurse/Coordinator Safe and Sober Community Alliance: A Conversation about Alcohol in the City of Kingston •Dean Waterfield, Director Housing and Homeless for Wesley Urban Ministries WELLINGTON-GUELPH DRUG STRATEGY “Working collaboratively to respond to issues of substance misuse in Guelph and Wellington County” (Wellington-Guelph Drug Strategy (WGDS, 2013a). WHAT IS HARM REDUCTION “Any policy or program designed to reduce drug-related harm without requiring the cessation of drug use. Interventions may be targeted at the individual, the family community or society” (Harm Reduction: A Background Paper on its Meaning and Applications for Substance Use Issues, CAMH, 2002 as cited in Edwards, 2013). HARM REDUCTION CHECKLIST • Recognize the intrinsic value and dignity of all human beings, and accept individual and community diversity • Provide a safe environment and reduce isolation • Recognize the right and abilities of individuals to make their own choices • Accept risk-taking as normal behavior • Encourage people to start where they are at in order to protect themselves • Challenge harmful social policies (WGDS, 2013b). HARM REDUCTION CHECKLIST CON’T • Provide service based on achievable and measurable goals and objectives • Ensure that individuals and communities affected are involved in the decision making • Recognize the right to comprehensive, non-judgemental medical and social services and fulfillment of basic needs of all individuals and communities • Support the development and provision of accessible harm reduction tools and information (WGDS, 2013b). REDUCING ALCOHOL-RELATED HARMS DRINKING HABITS OF YOUNG ADULTS (AGES 19-29) • A significantly higher portion of young adults drink above the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines1 than any other age group in Ontario (Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey, 2009 as cited in Edwards, 2013). 1 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Low Risk Guidelines: 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days IS ABSTINENCE A REALITY? • 32.5% of people aged 1929 in Ontario are considered heavy drinkers2 (Edwards, 2013). • Decreasing the harms associated with the behaviour has benefits over strictly emphasizing abstinence. 2According to CAMH, heavy drinking is to have 5 or more drinks on one occasion at least once a month in the past 12 months THE PREVENTION PARADOX •“A large number of people exposed to a small risk can create more cases of harm than a small number exposed to a high risk” (Rose, 1993). • Despite the belief that alcohol is not a serious issue, there is a high number of people being affected by alcohol related harms among the university population. SECOND HAND EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION • • • • • Drinking and driving Sexual assault Physical violence (i.e. Bar fights) Peer pressure Provincial Liquor Offences • Ontario’s Liquor License Act Ex. Intoxicated in a public place HARMS RELATED TO HIGH ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION • Drinking heavily can negatively impact areas of the brain related to executive functioning such as: • paying attention • planning and making decisions • processing emotions • controlling impulses leading to irrational behaviour (Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, 2012, p.7). HARM REDUCTION STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING ALCOHOL-RELATED HARMS • Limit the number of places that serve alcohol • Confined hours of service of the places that sell/serve alcohol • Limit alcohol allowed public events • Ex. Homecoming • Ex. St. Patrick’s Day • Stricter controls on the sale of large volume containers • Ex. Beer kegs & “texas mickeys” • Strengthen local zoning regulations to prevent congestion • Limit the number of bars in one area • Limit closing the streets for outdoor events • Server intervention programs SERVER INTERVENTION PROGRAMS • Servers are better trained to prevent alcohol related problems • Trained in the ability to recognize when a person is intoxicated and when to cease service • Program examples to implement in university communities include: • Educational sessions for servers at campus establishments • Requiring the Smart Serve Ontario3 test to be frequently renewed 3Smart Serve Ontario is the required provincial server training program for the hospitality industry and all licensed legal establishments must ensure their staff have completed this course. For more information on harm reduction or where to seek help visit: Wellington-Guelph Drug Strategy 519-821-6638 http://wgdrugstrategy.ca REFERENCES Baker, S. (2013). Harm reduction & concurrent disorders. WGDS Harm Reduction Forum, March 20th 2013, p. 1-33 Center for Addiction and Mental Health. (2012). Canada’s low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines. Retrieved 03/21, 2013, fromhttp://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_informati on/a_z_mental_health_and_addiction_information/alcohol/Page s/low_risk_drinking_guidelines.aspx Edwards, C. (2013). Alcohol Related Harms. WDGS Harm Reduction Forum, March 20th, 2013. Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (2012). Reducing alcohol harms among university students. Nova Scotia: Crown Copyright. Retrieved March 30th from http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/access/alcoholgaming.asp Rose, G. (1993). Rose's strategy of preventative medicine. New York: Oxford University Press. Wellington-Guelph Drug Strategy Committee (WGDS). (2013a). Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://wgdrugstrategy.ca/ Wellington-Guelph Drug Strategy Committee (WGDS). (2013b). Harm reduction: The facts and myths. Ontario: WGDS.