Expert: Risks of Under-Age Drinking

Published: 14 March 2018

"Acute intoxication with alcohol is common in Quebec. Between January 1 and November 26, 2017, emergency services received 2,332 young people aged 12 to 24 for this reason. This equates to 214 cases per month, 49 cases per week or 7 cases per day." (Institut national de santé publique)

Thomas Brown, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University and Researcher, Douglas Institute

"This report underscores the risk of under-age drinking. Young drinkers are particularly susceptible, as not only are they inexperienced in the use of alcohol, they are at a stage in their lives when the attraction and external reinforcement for risky drinking are at their peak. It also highlights the continuing efforts of the alcohol beverage industry to encourage alcohol misuse in a vulnerable population by manipulating packaging (catchy and youth-oriented branding), ingredients (being sugar-laden) and accessibility (low prices). These strategies are not new, as similar tactics were blatantly deployed in promoting tobacco use in the past. The same measures to discourage under-age tobacco use are relevant here. Prevention of alcohol misuse is clearly the bailiwick of the provincial government, who has the monopoly for alcohol distribution, and oversees retailing."–Thomas Brown

Thomas G. Brown and his team of students and collaborators are developing psychosocial interventions to combat substance abuse. They also aim to identify individual characteristics of vulnerability in order to optimally provide the most suitable intervention. A licensed clinical psychologist, Thomas G. Brown is also the head of research of Foster Addiction Rehabilitation Centre, a large public treatment facility serving the Anglophone community of Quebec.

thomas.brown [at] (English)

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