Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 27, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
THI IETHBRIDCE HERALD Thursday, January 27, Alcoholism is described as a most widespread drug problem By GERARD McNElL OTTAWA (CF) Afcoliolism is described by the LeDain com- mission as "our most wide- spread drug-dependence prob- lem" and one needing "really effective treatment services." ne commission on non-medi- cal use of drugs, in a report re- leased here says an estimated Canadians drink a "haz- ardous" or tin sodal drinks-daily. Between 1957 and deaths in Canada caused by alcoholism increased 74.3 per cent for males, 107.4 per cent for fe- males. In alcoholism caused 905 deaths in the coun- try. "The World Health Organiza- tion has estimated that ill Can- ada and the U.S. the prevalence of dependence on alcohol is 100 timee greater than dependence on the report says. "This is just one indication of the seriousness which should be attached to treatment of this our most widespread drug-de- pendence problem. "Another indication is lhat the life expectancy of an alcoholic is 10 to 12 years less than UK average." The commission says current treatment facilities tend to re- ject severe "skid road" alcohol- ics and look after effects rather than causes. SUCCESS BATE POOR Most treatment facilities had a success rate "which is either discouraging, mediocre or un- known." Social stigma led drinkers to refuse to face ttwir problem until it had caused physical de- cline or "social downfall." Then treatment depended mainly on social and economic status and estimated chance of recovery. The "drunk tank" system, which the commission recom- mended be abolished, was giv- ing way in some provinces to "detoxification but follow-up care was still rare. The centres, so far limited to a few cities, were "a realistic and humane alternative" and an important first step in a sys- tem of treatment. Ideally pa- tients should be referred, after drying out, to an agency for aft- er-care and therapy. In prac- tice, they seldom were and long-range effectiveness of the centres at present was thus "se- verely limited." The report quoted a Canadian Corrections Association esti- mate that close to jail sentences are served in Canada yearly for public drunkenness. Family doctors could be inval- uable In spotting alcoholics and referring them for treatment. But the medical system, while it spent "untold hours" treating injuries and illnesses springing from alcoholism, didn't treat primary dependence. "Many health insurance poli- cies do not include treatment of alcoholism and many hospitals refuse to admit alcoholics. "Thus physicians are fre- quently and understandably re- luctant to diagnose a patient's condition as alcoholic." This raised the question of how accurate the commission's estimate of Canada's alcoholism problem is, the report noted. Alcholics Anonymous, "gener- ally believed to nave helped more uncontrolled drinkers than any other method in human his- didn't reach many prob- lem drinkers because it insisted on a willingness to stop and on total abstinence. For many drinkers, treatment was needed before they could summon the will to stop. AA and alcoholism clinics were solving this problem through growing appreciation of each other's strengths and weakness, the LeDatn report said. A weakness of the clinics was that patients were generally middle-class and "skid road al- coholics are v i r t u 11 y ex- cluded." Tests of motiytion at the clinics tended "to eliminate about half of those who the half usually in most desper- ate need of treatment." AA meetings were the most common treatment form in gov- ernment-operated mental hospi- tals, although many offered nothing but removal from alco- hol. Halfway hcuscs, originated to help patients on leave from mental hospiUls, were useful but they also demanded total abstinence and used AA exten- sively. "Skid road alcoholics" were excluded. Even the Salva- tion Army, though it fed down- and-outcrs, considered them be- yond help. "We have almost no facilities of the most promising category offering comprehensive total care, including long-term follow-up the report says. EXCEPTION NOTED One exception was that the Donwood Institute in Toronto, which reported improvement or care in 75 per cent of patients. Bon Accord Farm, a pilot pro- gram of the Ontario Addiction Research Foundation, also was praised for its work aitong se- vere alcoholics." Treatment with drugs such as Ant-abuse and Temposil caused nausea and had a deterrent ef- fect but was useless unless they were taken regularly. LSD had been used in the hope that t personality change would result, overcoming de- pendence on alcohol. But results were reported discouraging. Pa- tients reported a change of per- sonality but kept on drinking. Many psysicians prescribed tranqullizers such as Librium and Valium to alleviate the anx- iety underlying drinking. The drugs had been found useful in some cases, helping to lead to a complete cure through long- term psychotherapy. There wasn't enough informa- tion about behavior the use of electric shock or other methods to condition alco- holics against say how useful it was. In some cases, such treatment intensi- fied anxiety and led to more drinking. LISTS RECOMMENDATIONS The commission said that If effective treatment is to be provided, Canada will need: c a r e r formulation of treatment goals based not on "routine such ae the need for total abstinence, but on careful, well-based as- sessment of each patient. universal "catchment sys- tem" that would reach Hiosn needing help in all segments of society, plus a treatment pro- gram running from the lime a drinker is Identified U> at hwst a year of follow-up care. -Replacement of "crimi- nally-oriented drunk tanki by medlcally-orlen'nd detoxifcitioo centres, with a variety of means to meet specific patient needs. research to evalu> ate the effectiveness of different programs and techniques in treating alcoholism. Narrow escape from death RED DEER (OP) A 27- yearnold man had a narrow es- cape in an oil well fire and ex- plosion Tuesday night, 15 miles northwest of here. Gary Thompson, an employee of General Hot Oil and Chemi- cal Cleaning of Red Deer was dcwaxlng an oil well at the time of the explosion which shot flames 60 feet into the air. Firemen extinguished the blaze but damage was esti- mated by the company at near ly The fire destroyed the truck and equipment. Temperatures at the ttme were about 50 below zero, a rec- ord low for the date. The pre- vious record was 37 below, set in 1950. QUAKE JOLTS TOWN ANCONA, Italy (AP) A moderate earthquake jolted this town on Italy's central Adriatic Coast and the surrounding area last night, causing wide- spread panic. There were no re- pjorts on damage or casualties. SIMPSONS-SEARS The Exclusive Kenmore Tivim 4-program Kenmore washer Monthly NOW WHITE telephone 328-9231 Charge it on your all-purpose account Normal, dtlicate and Derm-press Drooramt wilh a special cool-down to help prevent spin-let wrinkles. 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