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Date:6/11/2008

$211 million per year, 22 per cent of total savings).

  • The most effective intervention for preventing drinking and driving incidents in Canada was lowering the BAC level, which would result in a 19 per cent reduction.

  • The Safer Bars program was the most effective measure to avoid homicide and other violent crimes (more than 3 per cent reductions were estimated).

  • Brief interventions were the most effective measure to avoid other alcohol-attributable criminal activities (e.g., property crime), resulting in an almost 3 per cent reduction in these types of crimes.

"It's clear that the largest impact would come from interventions affecting the level of drinking in general such as brief interventions and increasing alcohol taxation," says Dr. Rehm. "However, the greatest overall cost avoidance would be achieved when multiple rather than single effective and cost-effective alcohol interventions are implemented as part of a comprehensive alcohol policy."

The scientists also estimated the potential impact of privatizing alcohol sales in those provinces that sell alcohol through a government monopoly. The analysis showed that substantial increases in direct and indirect costs would occur if Canadian provinces were to privatize alcohol sales. Productivity losses would increase by more than $468 million (7 per cent), health care costs would increase by more than $258 million (8 per cent), and costs related to criminality would increase by about $102 million (3 per cent).

While studies that investigate the cost of illness are a valuable indicator of the overall economic burden due to substance abuse in Canada, they do not offer potential solutions to reduce the burden. As Dr. Rehm explains, "this study shows the benefits potentially available to the community as a whole by directing public resources to specific policies, strategies and programs. It also helps identify inform
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Contact: Michael Torres
michael_torres@camh.net
416-595-6015
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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