By Kathleen Harris. The Case for the Government to Get OUT of Retailing and Distribution. Liquor Reform in British Columbia: A public and population health perspective.
Any changes in alcohol sales needs to look at the over all societal effect, not just ease or convenience of access to the product, which is an individualistic and arguable, selfish perceptive.
There is significant know expert-level evidence that the ease of alcohol sales/acquisition directly contributes to an increase in alcohol abuse, especially by youth and young adults.
The greater contributor to alcohol abuse in youth, I believe is the far more antiquated age of legal alcohol consumption in BC. When you combine the forbidden fruit approach with know, and largely biologically controlled, adolescent development behaviors patterns of experimentation and exerting independence (or the lack of understanding expression of rebellion), the combination of ease of access and forbidden access, is problematic. Further, it is inevitable, and harmful to youth. The harmful effects become harmful at a society level.
We are legally forbidden under government policy to teach our youth how to responsibly consume alcohol, at an age when they embrace the knowledge and wisdom of parents and other positively influential adults. We pass blame and even criminal action on to youth when our failure results in harms to the public and society. Doing so creates a further rift and ability to collaboratively approach finding more effective courses of action to deal with the harms, and even tragedies associated with it.
An individualistic and self-serving decision on increasing the ease of availability of alcohol will not be of any net benefit to reducing the ills associated with alcohol and alcohol abuse.
It is my view that the health of our youth and our society is of greater importance than the governments lack of ability to efficiently manage the the distribution and implementation of alcohol sales.
The governments responsibility goes beyond the economics of goods and services and individual gain.
The number one concern of provincial governments, as far as alcohol goes, should be to concentrate on the health and safety issues related to it, and taking the responsibility for how their policies directly and indirectly contribute to the issues.
Of further note, a labour force, government employed or otherwise, who receive a wage and benefit package which allows them a functionally adequate standard of living, is evidenced by quality population health research to help reduce alcohol abuse and the societal ills that are related to financial stress and other inequities in health as a result of societal inequities.
Kathleen Harris is a non-partisan registered nurse with 27 years in health care and a bachelor of science in nursing and a Masters candidate in Advanced PracticeHeath Leadership and Public Health. She has studied extensively and conducted research in issues related to Population Health and Social Inequities in Health. She is currently an instructor in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.