Money makes another round go ’round

1102barThere remains drama and interest in alcohol distribution.   I think this is so because of the money.  A recent news article reported on Kathleen Wynne and a press conference at the Ontario Economic Summit.    Given the forum for this conversation, it’s not a huge leap that many are interested in the business elements of the alcohol industry here in Ontario.

Premier Wynne insisted that it will take time to iron-out their plan for introducing beer into grocery stores, and also to bring about changes to the Beer Store and LCBO to provide for growing market segments, like craft beer.  At the same time, she insisted her government will not allow for beer or other alcohol products to be sold in convenience stores.  This, she said, is due to a broad segment of society worried about youth accessing alcohol, binge drinking, and other safety concerns.

Without going much further there, it’s obvious there are economic drivers – grocery stores, convenience stores, and the conventional sellers of booze are all hungry (thirsty?) to preserve or expand or get a piece of market share.  Brewers and vintners, meantime, are working hard to sell their products.

Contrast this work to govern distribution, increase sales, and widen exposure with another news article covering Ann Dowsett Johnston  – an author and recovering alcoholic who has written and spoken on the subject of addiction and alcohol for some length.

Johnston’s focus is not on youth, but on women, and to some degree, on our whole society.  She calls our culture ‘alcogenic’.   To interpret – it’s everywhere.  Social functions to family functions to Friday nights.   And we are drinking as much or more than we ever did, as  The Financial Post reports that Canadians have a national average consumption of 124 liters per adult in 2013, up from 117 liters per adult in 1998, (according to Statistics Canada).

Johnston speaks about the role of mental health and addictions, and the role of our consumer/economic-driven society in the marketing of alcohol to women.   Beyond that, alcohol is being heavily exposed to all of us, and its health consequences are being felt by more than just teenagers.

The narrative is that yes, young and old are going to drink.  But we can write a less harmful story by reducing our consumption, and in so doing, reduce some of the harms that go along with drinking.

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Author: Doug Ironside RN

Doug is a Registered Nurse (PHN) with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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