The rise of binge drinking among women: CBC "The Current" (Audio)

Tuesday, June
4, 2013


the Current

with Anna Maria Tremonti


"For many Canadian women a few drinks after work has become quite a few
drinks. The number of female binge drinkers is increasing. Critics blame liquor
marketers, in part, for targeting women, possibly setting them up for serious
health problems later in life.

Many young
Canadian women find the occasional binge quite appealing. Substance abuse
experts call it 'risky drinking' and the latest numbers from Statistics
Canada's Canadian Community Health Survey suggest nearly thirty per cent more
women engage in risky drinking than a decade ago. Risky drinking is measured
here as 5 or more drinks at a sitting, once or more a month.

Among women of
prime childbearing years, it's even higher - one fifth of women 25 to 34 drink
riskily, up by more than a third in the last decade.

Women still
haven't caught up to men in alcohol consumption. But experts are worried.
Gerald Thomas is a senior researcher with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. He is the
one who calculated the increases after looking at Statistics Canada numbers.

"There is
a very important distinction between how alcohol affects men and women. For one
thing women tend to be more sensitive to alcohol overall, so it takes less to
create problems for them than it does for men. But there are other things like
breast cancer, FASD, that really kind of are unique to women. I mean, there's
no doubt that a woman can build her tolerance up and drink like men can, but in
the long run, your effects, the negative health effects, will be stronger for
you given the same dose of alcohol no matter what".

Gerald Thomas, Sr. Researcher, Canadian
Centre on Substance Abuse."

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