Young Canadians are not alcoholics

I know it fits a nice narrative about drunken college students, but before publishing an article like this, perhaps actually talk to some voters, not just a shock jock.

Election activity: ‘Coalition’ drinking game the new buzz

If Canadians are hanging on politicians’ every word this election, there’s a good chance it’s because alcohol is involved.

The “coalition” drinking game was sparked on Twitter shortly after a Brampton, Ont., speech in which Stephen Harper dropped the political c-bomb a full 21 times in 10 minutes. From that point forward, every time the Conservative leader used the contentious term, the rules dictated that a shot must be swigged.

Key findings from a 2009 Health Canada report (and the alcohol-specific section):

  • Among Canadians 15 years and older, the prevalence of past-year alcohol use decreased from 79.3% in 2004 to 76.5% in 2009.
  • Three quarters of youth (75.5%) reported consuming alcohol in the past year. This is a decrease from 2004 when 82.9% of youth reported past-year use of alcohol.
  • The prevalence of heavy frequent drinking among youth 15 to 24 years of age, was three times higher than the rate for adults 25 years and older (11.7% versus 3.9%).

… Compared to 2004, a significantly higher percentage of Canadians in 2009 reported either not drinking (11.6% versus 7.3%) or drinking more moderately. In 2009, the rate of light frequent drinking at 31.3% was significantly higher than it was in 2004 at 27.7%. In contrast, a lower proportion of Canadians in 2009, than in 2004, reported heavy drinking to be their usual consumption, whether they be drinking frequently (5.1% versus 7.1%) or infrequently (3.7% versus 5.6%).

Note, that only 11% of youths are binge drinking, and those numbers are falling.

There is arguably no youth alcohol epidemic, but articles like this promote a negative stereotype which can drive more young adults away from the polls (the real issue).