By: Brandon Burnett and Joey Chini
A cold lager after your nine to five, a glass of wine with dinner, or a champagne flute on a special occasion–people like a drink or two every now and then. However, StatsCanada reported that 19% of Canadians aged 12 and over are classified as heavy drinkers.
It’s undisputed that excessive drinking leads to health complications, and it’s the most ubiquitous ways we indulge as a society by a wide margin, along with the distant second–smoking marijuana. What’s even more surprising is the amount of young people who are partaking–4% of youth aged 12-17, an age group that is not legally allowed to drink, reported heavy drinking.
“Research has shown consistently over the years that a significant proportion of university undergraduate students engage in high levels of binge drinking,” according to a 2012 study from the University of Guelph-Humber.
It’s widely accepted that college is the time to let loose, experiment, and have fun. The numbers provided by StatsCan reflect that: the 18 to 34 age group has the highest percentage of heavy drinkers. Humber North even ended up closing its campus bar and turning it into a cafe.
It can be easy to dismiss alcoholism among youth because of the party culture we live in, but there are resources available to people of all ages who struggle with alcohol addiction. Much like our previous story on smoking, many of the techniques we discussed to deal with addiction apply here as well–however, there are specific steps to take when getting help with alcohol abuse.
Students dealing with alcohol addiction need to start the detox process, in order to rid their body of alcohol and clean out their system. In order to find a detox centre you can contact Central Access at 1-866-366-9513.
“Typically an individual would access detox first, if you need to go through withdrawal management,” a representative from ConnexOntario, an addiction helpline, said. “They would have an assessment completed with the local addiction service in order to get into rehab in Ontario that’s covered by OHIP.”
Once detoxified, the next step is to get assessed by a doctor through programs such as rehabilitation centre CAMH’s MAARS Program which can be contacted through 416-535-8501 ext-2. These assessments can help get you on the right track to sobriety. In some cases, staying at a rehabilitation centre may be recommended. Additionally, for youth aged 14-24, the YMCA is a welcoming space–people looking for help and guidance can turn to this program for support.
Don’t forget Good2Talk is a free helpline for information on services relating to alcohol abuse, or any kind of addiction or mental health problem.
It’s important to realize as a young person in post-secondary that it isn’t a joke to consume alcohol irresponsibly. If you or a friend or loved one think you are suffering from alcoholism, do not hesitate to use the resources provided.