www.sunshine-summit-lodge.net - Alcohol Rehabilitation and Drug Treatment Centers
(855) 734-2223

Charging more for alcohol wouldn't just pour more dollars into provincial coffers ' it would help fight alcohol abuse, a leading cause of serious disease.

And that would in turn ease the burden on Ontario's health-care budget, the local board of health was told Wednesday.

The Medical officer of health at the Peterborough County-City Health Unit, said alcohol is one of four main risk factors that lead to the diseases that will, by 2030, require 80% of the provincial budget to fight.

"And that's not feasible," she said. "What's driving these costs? Certainly, it's chronic disease."

Along with smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, alcohol abuse can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

"It's not the typhoid or the TB that's killing us," Pellizzari said. "It's the chronic heart diseases, the cancers." She told the board one Ontarian in five smokes, one in five drinks too much, half don't eat right and half don't get enough exercise.

She showed the board a copy of Public Health Ontario and Cancer Care Ontario's new report, Taking Action to Prevent Chronic Disease, which offers 22 recommendations to tackle risk factors in the face of rising chronic disease rates.

It's part of the health unit's mandate to combat these risk factors, she said, and various programs are aimed at encouraging healthy eating and cracking down on smoking. Pellizzari pointed out that while most risk factors are linked to a lack of education and lower income levels, alcohol abuse tends to occur in people with more education and more income.

"They can afford more alcohol," she said.

But it was mentioned in the recent provincial budget that the province wants to generate more revenue from LCBO sales that got health unit staff thinking, she said.

It would call on the province to consider more than just revenues when increasing alcohol prices.

"We want to see that done in a more responsible way," he said.

The resolution, which won the support of the board, asks the association to request that the province increase alcohol costs in order to fight alcohol abuse and generate further revenues for health care.