Addiction and mental health researchers call for moratorium on privatizing liquor stores | National Union of Public and General Employees

Addiction and mental health researchers call for moratorium on privatizing liquor stores

“Given alcohol’s status as the leading risk factor for ill-health, injury and disability in North America” much more needs to be done, according to the researchers.

Regina (13 March 2013) – The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE) urges the Saskatchewan government to heed the advice of new evidence-based research that warns provinces not to privatize liquor sales, at the risk of increasing social problems and economic costs.

Provinces should “place a moratorium on private retail outlets” according to a new study, Strategies to Reduce Alcohol-related Harm and Costs in Canada: A Comparison of Provincial Policies, released by the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. The Centre is Canada’s largest addictions and mental health teaching hospital, as well as one of the world’s leading research centres in its field.

The study says that governments do not pay enough attention to addressing the damaging effects of alcohol on families and communities. There is fleeting attention paid when there is a tragic alcohol-related death but this is not enough, the authors say.

“Given alcohol’s status as the leading risk factor for ill-health, injury and disability in North America” much more needs to be done, according to the researchers.

“It is troubling that Saskatchewan is heading in the wrong direction by privatizing liquor sales. There is a lot at stake here, the safety of young people, and the costs to the health care and criminal justice systems,” says SGEU President Bob Bymoen.

“Research consistently shows that private liquor sales result in greater alcohol-related social harm. Public liquor retailers can make social responsibility a priority. But private businesses need to maximize profits, and so are more likely to sell alcohol to those who shouldn’t have it, such as minors or intoxicated customers,” notes Bymoen.

The Saskatchewan government has recently said that all new liquor stores in the province will be private. Three new private stores have already been announced.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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