Alcohol as a Gateway

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Alcohol and heavy drinking throughout Canada plays a distinctive role in instigating other key addictions. Drinking and consumption abuse can be linked strongly to the abuse of illicit drugs. Binge drinking should be seen as a gateway or portal to the development of poly-drug users. As the gateway drug theory suggests, routine use of less harmful drugs, in this case alcohol, will lead to risk of abusing more serious drugs. Alcohol is so readily available and like any other psychoactive drug it can be very addictive. More than 600,000 Canadians are dependent on alcohol, and nearly 200,000, on illicit drugs. Alcohol consumption needs to be portrayed as a more dangerous activity. The possible risk factors in alcohol consumption can be addiction or abuse to other more harmful substances, and even overdose or death. There is an abundance of alcoholism and substance abuse on Canadian university campuses. Increasing evidence from studies show that casual drinking is no longer the norm. The standard in ‘partying’ has transferred from casual drinking to binge drinking. Binge drinking is classified as the consumption of five or more alcoholic beverages during one occasion. Gilkson states “the percentage reporting a 5-plus heavy drinking episode during the past 12 months was 62.4%” (Gilkson et al. 438). This alarming number shows that drinking as well as binge drinking on campuses is overly common. There has been an increase in the quantity as well as the frequency of alcohol intake. “Statistics Canada data on sales of alcoholic beverages (in litres of absolute alcohol) show that per adult consumption of alcohol has increased by over 11% in Canada in the past decade” (Stockwell et al, 2007). By analyzing trends in alcoholic consumption w... ... middle of paper ... ...on acute intoxication and impairment. Risky substance combinations are becoming more common, and even though deaths from it are not as common as strictly alcohol they are still prevalent. “In 2005 there were an estimated 25,194 alcohol-related injuries and illnesses in BC requiring hospitalization compared with 4,817 related to illicit drug use” (Stockwell et al, 2007). Works Cited Gilksman, Louis., et al. “Heavy Drinking on Canadian Campuses.” Canadian Journal of Public Health. 94.1 (January/February 2003). Stockwell - Martin, C. (2008). Timing of alcohol and other drug use. Alcohol Research & Health, 31(2), 96-99. Retrieved from CINAHL with Full Text database.

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