In October 2020, far from making its 30th anniversary a self-satisfied business, Éduc’alcool salutes the progress made by Quebecers over the past three decades by emphasizing the positive aspects of the evolution of their relationship with the alcohol. This is normal and it is useful for educational work.
In fact, prevention is not just about warnings, advice and recommendations. Positive reinforcement is also an integral part of the means at our disposal to promote that moderation tastes much better. Also, focusing on the progress made once every ten years is not abusive and contributes to collective reflection on alcohol-related issues.
However, this should not obscure the fact that we still have a long way to go and that many problems remain that we must collectively help to reduce if not resolve them.
Despite all its efforts and all its determination, Éduc’alcool cannot do it alone. Sustainable progress is only manifested when everyone gets involved and in particular the State, whose role is essential in this area as in many others.
Great challenges await us in the coming years. May we be allowed to mention the most decisive ones.
- Increase compliance with the recommended consumption limits: one in 5 women and one in 4 men still exceed low-risk drinking levels at least once a month. We can reduce these thresholds by raising awareness – which we are doing – but also by further regulating the marketing of the sale of alcohol.
- Reduce impaired driving: While the proportion of impaired driving deaths has fallen by 20% in 30 years, the fact remains that 8% of drivers admit to having driven with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit at least once in the last year. Making the training of waiters in the restaurants and bars of the ITHQ, Action Service, and increasing the surveillance of the roads by the police are necessary to make us take a step forward.
- Put an end to family, sexual and conjugal violence under the influence of alcohol : About half of sexual assault cases involved alcohol consumption by the victim or the perpetrator.
- Decrease the number of dependent people : even if our dependency rate of 2.7% is the lowest in Canada, we can still do better by generalizing secondary prevention programs such as Alcochoix +, by strengthening support measures for treatment organizations and by stepping up measures to ‘accompaniment.
- Better supervise the sale and promotion of alcoholic beverages : the site is open, but we absolutely must put an end to commercial and promotional practices that encourage excessive consumption and institute structuring measures. Minimum alcohol prices, protection of young people from advertising on social media and prohibition of excessive promotions are just a few.
- Counter the libertarian tendencies that trivialize alcohol: too many of our compatriots continue to consider that alcohol is a product like any other which must obey only the laws of the market. The discourse of supporters of excessive liberalism, the law of the jungle and the trivialization of alcohol presented as a product like any other no longer have their place in our society.
- Stop manipulating science to demonize alcohol : there is unfortunately still too much moralism and too much disinformation which, under the cover of science, plays on fear and considerably undermines the real work of prevention. By presenting alcohol as a devilish product, dangerous at all levels of consumption, assimilated to tobacco and hard drugs, we come to undermine the organizations that deliver rigorous, balanced and comprehensive messages on alcohol and its effects.
Alcohol is a product that has been with us for centuries and it is not going to go away. Consumed moderately within the recommended limits, it can be very pleasant. Consumed in excess, it can wreak havoc on drinkers and those around them. A unique product unlike any other, it is the very essence of the Éduc’alcool slogan that Quebecers have made a proverb for 30 years: moderation tastes much better.
CEO of Éduc’alcool