SIMCOE, ON – November 24, 2016 The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) is in a process of preparing a community report on alcohol and is inviting area residents to share their stories and thoughts about how alcohol may be affecting our community.

“Alcohol is commonly used but it’s not harmless and we want to start the conversation on this important social issue,” said Lina Hassen, a health promoter with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “With recent increased alcohol availability throughout Haldimand and Norfolk, as part of a wider provincial rollout, we want to give residents a chance to share their thoughts on the subject of alcohol through our survey.”

The survey is completely anonymous and information gathered may be featured in an upcoming Health Unit’s community report on alcohol, scheduled for completion by the end of the year. The report will not contain the names of survey participants or any identifying information of those who choose to share their stories and ideas.

Research shows that as alcohol becomes more available in a community, rates of drinking also increase. This is a concerning trend for those who are at higher risk of harms from drinking alcohol, such as youth. Alcohol is listed in the same cancer-causing category as tobacco. As little as one drink a day can increase the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and female breast. Alcohol can also increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and contribute to mental health problems, such as depression and suicide.

“Alcohol also impacts people’s lives through second-hand effects such as community safety, impaired driving, domestic violence, assault, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and child neglect and abuse,” Hassen said.

Almost 80% of Canadians drink alcohol according to the 2015 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) and recent data indicate that alcohol consumption increased by 13% between 1996 and 2010.

“Alcohol is so integrated in our culture that it has become normalized as a staple of celebrations,” said Agnes Zabinska, public health nurse with the HNHU. “There is a great imbalance in the promotion of alcohol in our society, while the messages about the risks are rarely included.”

To participate in the survey or for more information about the harms associated with alcohol consumption please call HNHU at 519-426-6170 or visit hnhu.org.

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Media contact:
Lina Hassen, Hon. B.A., MPH
Health Promoter, Community Health
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Phone: (905)318-6623 Ext. 3315
Email: lina.hassen@hnhu.org