Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 26, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
M 1HI UTHMIDOI HHAIO Wtdntiday, January 16, known alcolwlics in Canada You don't have to look like a drunk to be one By CIIISHOLM MacDONALD Canadian Press Staff Writer The dark-haired woman, tiny and pretty, was adamant when she told her hostess at the party: "No, not even a small i-ink, thanks. If I took it, I'd be back where I was two years ago. A person doesn't have to look like a drunk to be one." She was about 28 and un- married, and her least-ob- vious statistic was that she was one of the approximately known alcoholics in Canada. "The number, of course, Is said Gary Sad- dler, information officer with the Addiction Research Foun- dation in Toronto. "There are well over other drink- ers in Canada whose daily in- take could be considered a hazard to their health. "fa for the girl at the party, she wouldn't have to look like a boozer. And you can't identify a drinking prob- lem with any social class; it cuts across all barriers." POLICE CONCERNED Mr. Saddler's views are shared by others. A Cross- Canada Survey by The Cana- dian Press indicates problem drinkers abound across me country, prompting police and other concerned groups to look upon tie addiction as a serious health problem rather than an offence against ilhe law. The survey also notes these points: Edward Island ap- peats to have the greatest number of alcoholics per cap- ita in Canada, and Newfound- land the fewest, for no appar- ent reason. most provinces have lowered the legal drink- ing age, officials have not as yet been able to see that as a trend towards the growing in- cidence of alcoholism. all agree that the av- erage age of the problem drinker appears to be getting lower. de- toxification centres, where po- lice take drunks to sober up rather than put them in jail, are springing up across the aren't catching on fast in the Atlantic prov- inces. drugs are usually mentioned with greater alarm, alcohol still is tfie over-all favorite among young and old. so-called skid-road bum is not the major problem drinker; he's just UK most no- ticeable. average problem drinker costs the company be works for about 25 per cent of his annual lost time, lost business and in the money spent to train a person to replace him. problem drinker, not necessarily a confirmed alco- holic, is considered to be one whose average daily con- sumption is at least nine ounces of liquor, 21 ounces of wine or 514 pints of beer-or a person v.'ho goes on the occa- sional extended binge. PROVIDE FIGURES A variety of factors make up a formula determining the number of alcoholics, Mr. Saddler said. They include mortality rates based on liver disease, including cirrhosis, as well as figures provided by jails, clinics and hospitals. Newfoundland, renowned for its Screech rum, gives a relatively low count of its al- The minimum drinking age in the province of about 518 000 still is 21. However, Rev. D. Burton Isaac, head of the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Foundation in St. John's, said he is being "moderate" with hia esti- mate. He said only about 10 per cent of me are the dtid-roed type. He said the average age for alcoholics In Newfoundland used to be 30 and I've had alcoholics in here at 22. I think they're becoming younger." Alcoholics Anonymous is ac- tive in Newfoundland and the addiction foundation operates three service St. John's, Grand Palls and Cor- ner Brook. LOCK UP DRUNKS The Newfoundland Consta- bulary still locks up drunks overnight, and the offenders appear before a magistrate the next day. For the first of- fence, it's a suspended sen- tence or a p fine. There are no detoxification centres and drunks are not taken to hospi- tal unless they ere believed to need medical attention. The last budget predicted the province would receive more than ?15.3 million from the Newfoundland Liquor Commission for 1971-72, com- pared with more than mil- lion the previous year. Nova Scotia, where drinking is allowed at 19, has between and alcoholics, said Marvin Burke, director of lire Alcoholic Research Foundation in Halifax. The province, listing gross sales of million for 'liq- uor, beer and wine in 1970 compared with million in 1966, has few treatment centres for alcoholics. Mr. Burke said there are no detox- ification centres or sufficient hospital facilities. Prince Edward Island, with a population of little more than has about known alcoholics. The prov- ince, popular with summer tourists, also had gross liquor and beer sales in 1970 of more than million compared with about S6.5 million in 1966. HELP INADEQUATE The drinking age there is still 21, and there has been lit- tle move on the part of police departments to take drunks to a hospital or clinic rattier than to jail. And officials say facilities for treating alcohol- ism are Inadequate. The major treatment facil- ity on the island is a 45-bed rehabilitation centre operated by the foundation in Charlotte- town. There is also a 15-bed half-way house there treating an average of 90 persons monthly. However, alcoholics may be admitted to a hospital in Summerside for two or three days as part of an ex- perimental program to deal with the problem. A provincial commission on alcoholism has been holding hearings in New Brunswick for several months and is ex- pected to present a report to the legislature this year. Under the recently-passed In- toxicated Persons Detention Act, drunkenness is no longer a legal offence there. Dr. J. E. Garten of Freder- Icton, director of the alcohol and community services, esti- mated there are prob- lem drinkers in the province of whom need clinical treatment. And he estimated the average age is 35 to 45. KEPT UNTIL SOBER New Brunswick police are expected eventually to take drunks to detoxification centres, scarce at the mo- ment, but now most are just locked up until sober. There are about alco- holics in Quebec, about half of them in the Montreal area. And Montreal police said they take kindly to the drunken of- fender, "giving him a chance to sleep it and then re- leasing him to the city's char- itable missions or the AA. The provincial govern- ment's office for the preven- tion and treatment of alcohol- ism and toxicomania conducts outpatient clinics such as one in Montreal where doctors and social workers have a therapy program for alcohol- ics, it also has eight hospitals for alcoholics across the prov- ince. Ontario has more than "labelled" alcoholics, Mr. Saddler said. "And there are more than others in the province who have a drinking problem." In 1969, the last count, about 80 per cent of Ontario resi- dents over the age of 15 were consuming alcohol. Of that number, 6.23 per cent were calculated by the foundation to be drinking amounts haz- ardous to their health HAVE DRUG PROBLEMS Mr. Saddler said the advent of the drug problem has over- shadowed the problem of alco- hol in the public's eye. "But it hasn't overshadowed it in the treatment of alcoholism." He said a major difficulty is determining the borderline executive who takes his martini lunches, rather than the bums on the corner who comprise only about 15 per cent of the total." Insp. Jack Marks of the Metropolitan Toronto Police, who works closely with the addiction foundation, said po- lice are taking advantage of the three detoxification centres in Toronto whenever possible rather than putting drunks in jail. Insp. Marks said there has been no apparent increase in drunkenness in Toronto since the drinking age was lowered to 18 last year. A variety of alcohol units operate in 33 Ontario centres mainly the AA, the research foundation and a relatively new organization, the Don- wood Institute, based in To- ronto. In addit-on, the provincial government announced last July it will spend million curing the next three years to establish detoxification centres in 11 counties. The province drew million in gross sales of liq- uor, wine and beer in 1970 compared with million in Manitoba reports about confirmed alcoholics and about others listed as problem drinkers. The drinking age there Is II. CALLED EPIDEMIC Dr. John Geramell, physi- ciin-ln-chief at Winnipeg Gen- eral Hospital, said alcohol and drug abuse has reached epi- demic proportions in the city. He said admissions for chronic alcoholism complica- tions at the hospital increased to 31( last year from 126 in 1965. "It used to be a real curios- ity some years ago to find an alcoholic on the be said. "Now we have so many of them all over the place that they ire almost a nuisance. "Admissions for chronic al- coholism have increased 10 times since 1948 and if there was such a dramatic jump in any other disease in a time period like this it would cre- ate a tremendous public out- cry. Yet nothing seems to happen now. Society accepts alcoholism as a social condi- tion." Under legislation passed re- cently, drunks are taken to city jails and held without charge until i responsible per- son claims them. The prov- ince is also setting up detoxifi- cation centres. Liquor sales in Manitoba in- creased from 165 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1966, to million in 1970, the most recent figures avail- able. The Alcoholism Commission of Saskatchewan, a govern- ment body, estimated there were alcoholics in that province in 1969. "We have complete treat- ment facilities in Regina and said Dr. Saul Cohen, the commission's director of rehabilitation. Both centres are run on an out-patient basis and hold four-week courses which pa- tients are required to attend every day, Mr. Cohen smld. The commtoslon received a government pant of more than S600.000 in the last fiscal year. Saskatchewan, which per- mits drinking at 18, had liquor and associated sales totalling million in 1970 compared with 157.8 In 1966. S. H. Lindop, co-ordlnator of industrial programs with the Alberta government's Alcohol- ism and Drug Abuse Commis- sion, said the number of alco- holics in Alberta Is estimated variously between and The commission, which has a case-load of to patients a year, treated men and 200 women in the first six months of 1971. Drinking is allowed in Alberta at 18. It gives treatment on an outpatient basis at offices and clinics in Edmonton and Cal- gary, at Red Deer General Hospital and at its Lethbridge hospital. NO DRY-OUT CENTRES An amendment to the Al- berta Liquor Control Act two years ago gave police the op- tion of charging first-time drunk offenders or keeping them in jail until sober. There are no detoxification centres in the province. Alberta Liquor Control Board sales totalled mil-1 lion in 1969-70, compared with million In 1965-66. In British Columbia, where the drinking age is 19, the al- coholism foundation estimates the number of alcoholics at "There may be thousands of 25-year-old alcoholics, but no one really said re- search director Ron Cutler. "I think the middle 40s are a pretty good average age, bow- ever." The main treatment centre hi the province is the one run by me foundation, although the corrections department of ttie provincial jail service also has facilities for dealing with alcoholics. The B.C. Liquor Control Board made million In revenue for the fiscal year ended in March, 1971. In 1966. it made million. BUY ISRAELI PLANES TEL AVIV (AP) Four countries have ordered 3fi Is- raeli-built Arava turbo-prop air- craft, valued at million, it was reported here. The Israeli aircraft industries declined to lame the buyers, but one coun- try ordered 18 cf the twin-en- gined short takeoff and land- ing passenger planes. DIES Rev. Howetl M. 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