With 47 drunk days a year, Canada ranked third on a global list of drinking, behind the U.K. and U.S.
Canada’s admiration for a cold drink shined through in a new report that shows Canadians in the survey admitted to getting drunk about once a week — one of the highest rates worldwide in a sweeping new survey.
Almost 2,000 Canadians took part in this year’s Global Drug Survey — a report by a team in London that had more than 132,000 people across 36 countries fill out a questionnaire about their drug and alcohol habits.
With 47 drunk days a year, Canada ranked third on their global list of drinking.
Americans surveyed reported 50 days under the influence in the last 12 months while the U.K. participants had the most tipsy days with 51 drinking days a year.
Although there is no data on what type of alcohol people prefer, about half of Canadians in the report wanted to drink less alcohol in the coming year, with close to one in five experiencing regret and two in ten considering professional help.
While the report only reflects the habits of those in the survey, Elizabeth Trott, professor emeritus at Ryerson University, says drinking is a staple in Canadian culture. In an e-mail to the National Post, she wrote small communities had three characteristics — piano teachers, churchgoers and booze, whether it was legal or not.
“Local drug fixes [help] to overcome misery, induce laughter, ward off pain, put in time when too tired to do anything useful [and] Canada, a collection of small communities, is no different,” Trott wrote.
“Tales of the railway being built include the two professions that crossed the country with the railway workers, sellers of booze and prostitution… living in cold, lonely places, separated from each other for decades before decent roads got built, [people] learned how to find their own amusement and create their own booze.”
Trott adds any potential uptick in drinking today could come from isolation in big cities — but Canadians fell back on the same coping mechanism even before sprawling metropolises blanketed the country.
“Community habits don’t change easily, even though the reasons for drinking may alter,” she wrote.
Robert Mann, a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, calls the report “interesting,” but says Canadians haven’t been winning any global drinking contests in his years of research.
“In general, we’re in the middle of the pack for alcohol for how much we drink and consumption levels,” he says.
The report states regardless of where countries rank in their findings, alcohol companies and policymakers can do more to prevent problem drinking.
“It might be time to look at providing guidelines offering advice on how to get drunk safely and offering some lower risk limits on the frequency of the risky activity and to highlight that for most people they would get as much pleasure when they choose to get drunk if they drank a bit less,” the report reads.
“We might at least engage people who at present may see guidelines as irrelevant especially after that fourth drink.”
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