There’s a lot of talk about Saskatchewan’s drunk driving problem, and over the past months the province has taken steps to really crack down on their impaired drivers. But just because Saskatchewan has dominated the headlines doesn’t mean other provinces aren’t experiencing the same problem with impaired drivers.
Take Alberta for example. One emergency room doctor has dubbed Alberta the “wild west” because of the drinking problem in the province, and he’s said that he’s never had a shift at the hospital where he doesn’t seem the outcome of someone drinking alcohol.
Dr. Louis Francescutti is a professor at the University of Alberta and an emergency room doctor. He’s made the decision to call out Alberta drinkers and Alberta impaired drivers based on both his own personal experiences and a report which came out that shows the issues Alberta residents have with alcohol are much worse than other provinces.
The report, Alcohol Harm in Canada, was done by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. It states that 32 per cent of people living in Alberta have discussed alcohol abuse with their doctors in the past two years, and that’s the highest rate of people seeking help for alcohol-related issues in all of Canada.
One of the reasons why Alberta residents could have such a problem with alcohol, whether that be impaired drivers or health-related issues, is due to the fact that the liquor laws aren’t as tight as they are in other provinces and there are lower alcohol prices in the province. Because of those specific issues, Francescutti has come up with a few suggestions:
- There should be a higher tax on alcohol when served in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, and the money that extra tax collects should go to detox programs to people who need help battling an alcohol addiction
- The Alberta drinking age should be lowered, the driving age should be raised, and the province should take a cue from Saskatchewan in cracking down on impaired drivers
It’s possible that Alberta lawmakers could take these suggestions seriously and make some changes to Alberta impaired driving law, but no matter what they decide, it’s clear that the province needs to do something to put the brakes on the amount of alcohol abuse and alcohol-related issues they’re seeing.