UVic study shows average of 528 bottles of beer per person this year
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
The University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research, having studied alcohol consumption for more than a decade, is waving the flag on BC’s rising levels. In fact, Canada’s average of 8 litres of absolute alcohol, which is lower than previous years, pales in comparison to BC’s at 8.97 litres, continuing a trend of alcohol consumption in BC that has been on the rise since 2012.
“This jump to nearly 9 litres is equal to 528 bottles of 5 per cent beer, 30 bottles of 40 per cent vodka, or 100 bottles of 12 per cent wine consumed per person aged 15 plus in British Columbia, per year,” states the organization’s website.
BC’s increased consumption of almost three per cent in the 2014–15 fiscal year is an all-time high for the past decade. This sudden leap, predicted a year ago by Dr. Tim Stockwell, director of the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research (CARBC), has come as no surprise.
“We can’t be certain, but it won’t have helped that the liquor laws have been relaxing availability and improving affordability with happy hours and the like,” said Stockwell to CBC.
Within the past year, BC’s liquor laws have seen some serious changes. With happy hours popping up everywhere, a decrease in beer garden and festival barriers, an increase of alcoholic products sold at local grocery stores and farmers’ markets, and an overall support for local liquor manufacturers, there has been a shift in British Columbian’s lifestyles.
The research team at UVic is using this information to predict that around 655 additional hospitalizations and 31 deaths will occur within the upcoming year, atop of the 24,429 hospital admissions and 1,281 deaths caused by alcohol in 2013.
While the drinking rate has increased over many years, the amount of those drunk stays under the average consumption numbers recorded back in 2007, according to CBC.
“Throughout the year, but especially around holidays, CARBC recommends people who plan to drink familiarize themselves with Canada’s low-risk drinking guidelines: no more than 2 drinks a day or 10 per week for women, and 3 drinks a day or 15 per week for men, with an extra drink allowed on special occasions,” advises CARBC.