British Columbia holds a strong Alcoholic population. In the past decade, alcohol consumption has increased by 11%. Since 2002, alcohol related hospitalizations and deaths have increased by a rate of 18%. It has been proposed that a specific liquor tax should be put into place as a way of reducing alcohol consumption and the dangers associated with alcohol abuse.
Alcohol products like beer and coolers with lower alcohol content should be cheaper, this would not only be an incentive to marketers and manufacturers but is a much better choice for those who drink alcoholic beverages. This has yet to be decided on. 65% of coolers sold in B.C. contain 7% alcohol content and have an average price of $5.41 per liter, compared to $8.07 for coolers containing 5-5.9%. In 2005, there were an estimated 25,194 alcohol-related injuries compared to 4,817 related to illicit drug use.
In 2007,a‘nickel a drink’ tax was talked about in hopes of generating funds that would be put toward alcohol treatment and alcohol prevention programs.
Every year psychoactive substances like alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and some prescription drugs cost Canadians over $40 billion. They are linked to at least 47,000 deaths and thousands of injuries.
Smoking weed (marijuana or cannabis) is not only common, but socially accepted. Teens 15-19 have an average 37% rate of marijuana use. Not only pot, but Hash is common among B.C teens and adults. Though statistics are much lower at less than 7%, marijuana abuse has caused fatal harm. In 2005, there were 1,500 deadly auto accidents, the drivers were charged with driving under the influence of Marijuana.
Ritalin is the most commonly abused prescription drug in British Columbia. With its easily obtained prescription and low street markup, finding Ritalin on the streets is all but difficult. As a result of its obtainability, Ritalin has become a gateway to harder speed drugs like Cocaine. An average 17% of people in B.C. have at least admitted to trying the illicit substances. From 1995-2006, arrests for possession of Cocaine have more than tripled. Drug rehabilitation programs have designated their services to strictly dealing with Cocaine addiction and cocaine abuse treatment.
Intervention treatment programs and services have had 11% more illicit drug users than alcohol and prescription drug abusers. The cost of formatting and upgrading the treatment services in order to keep up with drug treatment needs has cost the Canadian government 2.3 million since 2005.
Canada’s Treatment Action Plan supports new and effective approaches when treating and rehabilitating individuals with drug addictions. Their Plan promotes cooperation among governments and agencies to increase access to drug treatment services.
This plan enhances treatment and support for First Nations and Inuit; Provides treatment programs for young offenders with drug related problems; and supports research on new treatment models. Canada’s Government has committed about $100 million dollars in new funding to implement the Treatment Action Plan.