Consequences

A 1993 survey found that 5.1 percent of current drinkers had had a physical health problem due to their drinking at some point. About 2 percent said it had interfered with their friendships or social life, and 2.1 percent said it had affected their home lives or marriages. Finally, 4.7 percent said it affected their financial positions.

In 1996, about 8 percent of current drinkers reported drinking and driving. Of fatally injured drivers who had been tested, 45 percent had positive Blood Alcohol Concentrations (BAC), with 28 percent exceeding 150 milligrams. (The legal level in Canada for impairment is 80 milligrams.)

In 1996, there were 95,877 federal drunk driving offenses, although the number has been declining for several years. Most offenses are for impaired operation of motor vehicles, but about 8 percent are for refusal or failure to provide a breath sample. There were 16,239 people jailed for drunk driving offenses in 1996, about 20 percent of all jailed people.

In 1996, there were 194,916 provincial liquor act offenses, and 14,329 juvenile offenders were convicted in liquor act offenses. However, only 1,201 people were jailed for liquor act offenses, as most are dealt with by fines, suspended sentences, or attendance at detoxification centers.

In 1996, there were 65,106 illicit drug offenses of all types with most (47,002) being for cannabis; there were 11,188 offenses for cocaine and 1,233 for heroin. Almost all convictions were under the Alcoholic Control Act. Offenses under the Food and Drug Act, which covers LSD, stimulants, and nonnarcotic drugs were 1,306.

In 1996, 8,684 people were sent to federal or provincial prisons for drug offenses, the majority of which were for cannabis and cocaine related offenses; they constituted about 16 percent of all federal jail prisoners and 7 percent of provincial jail prisoners.

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