The Government of British Columbia started a review process in August 2013 to update current alcohol policies.
The first stage of the review has started with feedback from key industry groups and stakeholders. In the next few weeks, all citizens will be invited to share their thoughts through a Liquor Policy Review website. A report is to be submitted to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice by November 25, 2013; BC’s cabinet will consider the report in early 2014.
There are numerous opportunities to get involved in these discussions. Alcohol policy discussions usually include a discussion of how to balance consumer freedom and economic considerations with reducing alcohol-related harms and costs. Historically, FASD has not been part of alcohol policy discussions, even though increased alcohol consumption in the population has implications for numbers of alcohol-exposed pregnancies and FASD rates.
The Centre for Addictions Research of BC (which conducts evidence-based research on alcohol policy) will be following the review process and posting commentaries and discussion by researchers, students and others associated with the Centre. Check out their website here.
For more on the links between alcohol policy and FASD prevention, see earlier posts:
- Minimum Alcohol Pricing Policies: Making the Connection to FASD Prevention (February 7, 2013)
- Integrating FASD Prevention and Alcohol Policy (March 17, 2011)
You might also be interested in this eight minute video from the 5th International Conference on FASD in February 2013. Denise De Pape from the BC Ministry of Health talks about how alcohol policies can prevent FASD. She comments: “People living in communities who are dealing with FASD need to find ways to engage the Ministry of Finance and other parts of government that are putting in policies around price of alcohol and so on.” She discusses how anti-tobacco efforts can inform FASD prevention efforts. Check out the video here.