The consequences of alcohol misuse represent a serious public health and safety issue that affects individuals, families and communities across Canada. The impact of alcohol misuse on judgement, behaviour, attitude and reflexes can range from embarrassment, to unwanted or high-risk sexual contact, violence, injury or even death. Alcohol misuse can also result in increased risk of chronic diseases such as some cancers, cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Although data, strategies and guidance for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are not included here, the Public Health Agency of Canada provides information on FASD. In addition, Health Canada provides information on alcohol-related issues among First Nations people and Inuit.
What you will find
These resources provide Canadian and international information to help you plan programs to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse and to raise awareness about its harmful effects. For more information, please visit the Best Practices section for interventions related to alcohol misuse.
A first step to planning a program to prevent alcohol misuse is to understand the topic through surveillance data.
- Chronic disease infobase Data Cubes, interactive database. Public Health Agency of Canada.
- The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2015: Alcohol Consumption in Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada (2016).
- Youth smoking survey, includes questions about alcohol. Health Canada.
- Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, 2013, Statistics Canada (2015).
- The impact of substance use disorders on hospital use, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (2014).
- Heavy drinking 2013, Statistics Canada.
- Heavy drinking by age group and sex, Statistics Canada (2014).
- Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS): Summary of results for 2011, Health Canada.
- Heavy drinking, by sex, provinces and territories, table with percentage data. Statistics Canada (2013).
- Last twelve month use of alcohol and cannabis, by province, grades 7-12, Canada, 2010-2011, data table. Health Canada.
- Main 2010 CADUMS indicators by province – Alcohol, data table. Health Canada.
- Public health approach to alcohol policy (PDF document), includes surveillance data for British Columbia as well as information on policy and program options. Government of British Columbia (2008).
- New Brunswick Student Drug use Survey report 2012 (PDF document), New Brunswick Department of Health (2013).
- NWT addictions report – Prevalence of alcohol, illicit drug, tobacco use and gambling in the NWT, Health and Social Services (2010).
- Initial report on Public Health: Adult heavy drinking, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
- Initial report on Public Health: Youth heavy drinking, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
- 900,000 days in hospital: the annual impact of smoking, alcohol, diet and physical activity on hospital use in Ontario, Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES) (2014).
- Health behaviours: Self-reported alcohol use, Public Health Ontario.
- La consommation excessive d’alcool chez les jeunes Québécois : déterminants et problèmes liés (PDF document) (French only). This report is an update to a 2014 INSPQ 2014 publication on trends in excessive alcohol consumption among youth. The current report presents the latest knowledge and determinants around of excessive alcohol consumption among young people aged 15 to 34 years and the problems that can result. Institut national de la santé publique du Québec (2015).
- La consommation excessive d’alcool chez les jeunes Québécois : portrait et évolution de 2000 à 2012 (PDF document) (French only). Overview of excessive alcohol consumption patterns among young people aged 12-35, including the age they are most likely to drink excessively, trends from 2000-2012, and cohort patterns of behaviour. Institut national de la santé publique du Québec (2014).
- Santéscope: Evolution for Québec: Lifestyle practices and behaviour. Alcohol consumption, (open drop down menu). Institut National de santé publique (2010).
- Health and health-related behaviours among young people in Yukon (PDF document), Government of Yukon (2011).
- Yukon addictions survey: Preliminary results 2005 (PDF document), Yukon Health and Social Services.
- National drug strategy household survey detailed report: 2013, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (updated 2015).
- Apparent consumption of alcohol, Australia, 2012-13, Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014).
- Hazardous drinking in 2011/12: Findings from the New Zealand health survey, New Zealand Ministry of Health (2013).
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
- Alcohol consumption among population aged 15 and over, Factbook Country Statistical Profiles (2013).
- Health at a glance: Europe, 2012: Smoking and alcohol consumption among children.
- Data on alcohol misuse, National Health Service Information Center.
- Alcohol-related disease impact (ARDI), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
World Health Organisation (WHO)
- WHO Infobase (Indicators: Alcohol).
- Alcohol: Fact sheet (2015).
- Global status report on alcohol and health 2014.
- Global information system on alcohol and health: Patterns of consumption, Global Health Observatory Data Repository (various years).
Government Strategies (Frameworks, Action Plans, etc)
- Alcohol, Health Canada.
- Childhood and adolescent pathways to substance use disorders (PDF document), Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (2014).
- National native alcohol and drug abuse program, Health Canada.
- Honouring our strengths: A renewed framework to address substance use issues among First Nations People in Canada (PDF document), Health Canada (2011).
Note: Some provinces have specific strategies on reducing alcohol misuse. Others have broader strategies on substance abuse which include alcohol.
- Strategies to reduce alcohol-related harms and costs in Canada: A comparison of provincial policies (PDF document), Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (2013).
- Youth binge drinking in Alberta: A report by Alberta’s chief medical officer of Health (PDF document), (2013).
- Creating connections: Alberta’s addiction and mental health strategy (PDF document), (2011).
- Alberta Alcohol Strategy (PDF document), Alberta Government (2008).
- Healthy minds, healthy people: A ten-year plan to address mental health and substance use in British Columbia (PDF document), (2010).
- Pathways to wellness – An updated action plan for addictions and mental health 2014 – 2016 (PDF document), Northwest Territories Health and Social Services (2014).
- Transformational process for mental health & addictions: Future directions & promising practices in the Northwest Territories, Northwest Territories Health and Social Services (2011).
- Changing the culture of alcohol use in Nova Scotia: An alcohol strategy to prevent and reduce the burden of alcohol-related harm in Nova Scotia (PDF document), Government of Nova Scotia (2007).
- Developing healthy communities (PDF document), (2008-2013).
- Alcohol policy framework (PDF document), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (2013).
- The national drug strategy 2010-2015.
- Health equity in Australia: A policy framework based on the social determinants of obesity, alcohol and tobacco (PDF document), Australian National Preventative Health Taskforce (2009).
- Action plan on youth drinking and on heavy episodic drinking (binge drinking) 2014-2016, European Commission (2014).
- Alcohol strategy, Home Office (2012).
- National prevention strategy: America’s plan for better health and wellness (PDF document), National Prevention Council, (Page 31: Preventing Drug Abuse and Excessive Alcohol Use) (2011).
World Health Organization
- Alcohol and health in Canada: A summary of evidence and guidelines for low-risk drinking (PDF document), Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (2011).
- Alcohol sense, Healthy Families BC.
- Model core program paper: Prevention of harms associated with substances (PDF document), Ministry of Health Living and Sport (2009).
- Pregnancy, alcohol, and trauma-informed practice (PDF document), Government of Manitoba (2015).
- Why do girls and women drink alcohol during pregnancy? (PDF document), Government of Manitoba (2015).
- Who drinks alcohol during pregnancy? (PDF document), Government of Manitoba (2015).
- Making the case: Tools for supporting local alcohol policy in Ontario (PDF document), Public Health Ontario & Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (2013).
- Ontario prevention of substance misuse guidance document (PDF document), Ministry of Health Promotion (2010).
- Effectiveness of approaches to communicate alcohol-related health messaging: Review and implications for Ontario’s public health practitioners (PDF Document), Public Health Ontario (2015).
- The Ontario health profile, Public Health Ontario.
- Snapshots, Public Health Ontario.
- La consommation excessive d’alcool chez les jeunes Québécois : déterminants et problèmes liés (PDF document) (in French only). Institut national de santé publique du Québec (2015). Literature review and analysis of the determinants associated with excessive consumption of alcohol by young Quebecers aged 15 to 34 and identify priority intervention targets.
- Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, National Health and Medical Research Council (2009).
- The avoidable costs of alcohol abuse in Australia and the potential benefits of effective policies to reduce the social costs of alcohol (PDF document), Australian Government (2008).
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
- Behaviour change: individual approaches (2014).
- Alcohol-use disorders – preventing harmful drinking (2010).
- Community preventive services: Preventing excessive alcohol consumption, The Community Guide.
World Health Organization
- Evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm (PDF document) (2009).
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Systematic Reviews of the Research
Selected strong reviews from HealthEvidence.org:
- The impact of brief alcohol interventions in primary healthcare: A systematic review of the reviews , (2014).
- Effects of alcohol retail privatization on excessive alcohol consumption and related harms: A community guide systematic review, (2012).
- Universal school-based prevention programs for alcohol misuse in young people, (2011).
- Universal family-based prevention programs for alcohol misuse in young people, (2011).
- Effectiveness of policies maintaining or restricting days of alcohol sales on excessive alcohol consumption and related harms, (2010).
- Effectiveness of policies restricting hours of alcohol sales in preventing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms, (2010).
Search more systematic reviews.