B.C. residents are boozing more and toking up less, according to new research.
The average resident drank almost 9.2 litres of pure alcohol last year, up more than 10 per cent from 8.26 litres in 2002.
That's among the findings of multiple B.C. academics compiled and released by the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research.
The province's per capita liquor intake has been rising almost twice as fast as the rest of Canada.
B.C. has also seen a 17 per cent jump in the number of people hospitalized because of their drinking over the past 10 years.
Alcohol is linked to more than twice as many deaths as all illicit drugs combined, according to the findings.
The Centre for Addictions Research is to table proposals Friday ( Dec. 11 ) calling on the B.C. government to raise alcohol prices to help deter dangerous drinking.
"One of the problems has been the low prices," said centre director Dr. Tim Stockwell.
"Some of the highest strength alcohol is sold and consumed by people who drink a lot and those prices have not always been raised with the cost of living."
Tobacco smoking still accounts for more deaths than any other substance, despite B.C. having one of the lowest smoking rates in the world.
Harm from alcohol and tobacco is more prevalent in the North and Interior than in the Lower Mainland, according to the findings.
Fewer B.C. residents are using marijuana and crystal meth, but use of crack cocaine, ecstasy and prescription medications is up.
Just over 13 per cent of B.C. residents aged 15 or older reported marijuana use in the past year, four per cent had used other illicit drugs in the past year and 75 per cent consumed alcohol.
December 10, 2009
Nanaimo News Bulletin