Sherbrooke campus helpdesk teams have had to intervene about three times a month in 2016-17 due to alcohol-related incidents, according to a document released by the Canadian Center on Addictions and Substance Use (CCDU), “a case study in the Sherbrooke community”. This highlights various issues that result from alcohol abuse among young people.
“To help a student involved in an alcohol-related accident or incident, campus officials had to call 911 emergency services about once a month,” we learn as well.
In addition, at postsecondary campuses, internal security services are regularly solicited for alcohol-related problems. During 2016-2017, there were approximately 11 interventions per month for non-medical incidents.
The study focuses on behaviors of incivility. “Among the four sectors of the city most frequented by young people to consume alcohol, the data reveal that between the beginning of 2015 and November 2017, 489 tickets were issued to young people who were between 16 and 24 years old at the time of the event. ”
The document is based on data from the Sherbrooke Police Service (SPS), which keeps statistics on incivility behaviors in public places related to alcohol consumption.
The indicators of legal and legal consequences are also very telling.
“The weeks when we observe the most legal misdeeds are exactly the same weeks as those where we saw more young people admitted to the emergency (note: in connection with alcohol issues). In the weeks when young people drink too much, the consequences are varied and multiple, “says Catherine Paradis, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at CCDU and lead author of the study.
Tackling slippages will not only be positive for the health of young people, but also to deal with certain public issues.
With this observation in hand, the community is mobilizing to fight against the trivialization of alcohol consumption (see other text).
The case study also looks at the availability and price of alcohol on the territory, particularly on university campuses. She points out that according to Canadian recommendations issued in 2017, “no alcohol sold for consumption on site should be offered below $ 3.42”, but that “all institutions in the region do not follow this recommendation “. At UdeS, one policy notes that a “minimum price of $ 2.50 per alcoholic consumption” must be introduced.
These data are in addition to a CHUS emergency department study in which every two days a young person between the ages of 12 and 24 reported to the CHUS for a medical emergency related to alcohol. “The blood alcohol level measured in 569 of the 855 patients had an average of 208.8 mg / dl. One in 10 had a rate greater than 300 mg / dl. In comparison, to be able to drive legally, the limit is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
The Sherbrooke population consists of 17% of students eight months a year. The city has five post-secondary institutions on its territory.
“Safe spaces” to sober without danger
“Safe spaces” could be created to allow young people to sober up safely. This is at least one of the recommendations made in the study entitled “Alcohol consumption and its misdeeds among young people: a case study in the Sherbrooke community”.
This proposal is inspired by other Canadian campuses that have created post-alcohol support space (PASS). Each in their own way, the UdeS and Bishop’s have developed such sites, says the CCDU.
According to Catherine Paradis, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at CCDU, the mobilized stakeholders would like such a space to be created at the start of the school year on Wellington Street. These spaces would be more and more popular.
Bishop’s includes Safe Haven, where drunk students can take refuge. They are monitored by members of Student Safety Workers for signs of intoxication.
The recommendation will also be made to the organizers of the Lake of Nations Festival.
“(…) the Lake Festival and the outings in the bars surrounding the initiation activities are high-risk events of poisoning and assault,” reads the CCDU report. The authors refer to “spaces of support, itinerant and temporary, on specific places”. “We’re going to identify key moments,” says PEP-MA co-chair Ms. Paradis, adding that social workers could be on hand and call emergency services if needed.
From interest elsewhere
According to Ms. Paradis, the work done in Sherbrooke is attracting interest elsewhere in the country. The City of Kingston wishes to resume the study conducted in the CHUS emergency department, after nearly 100 youth were admitted to the emergency room after a single evening of drinking water. Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia with similar characteristics in Sherbrooke, was also interested after a presentation by Ms. Paradis.
In his eyes, the collaboration of the entire community could be the solution to the problems related to alcohol consumption among young people. Although Sherbrooke is in the early stages, its approach could be the one to use nationally.
La Tribune recently reported on Sherbrooke’s healthy city action plan and its partners to raise awareness of youth alcohol consumption, including the CCDU. The Universities of Sherbrooke and Bishop’s are members of the Post-Secondary Education Partnership – Alcohol Abuse (PEP-MA), an initiative that aims to reduce the harms associated with alcohol use.
Among the initiatives mentioned, stakeholders would like to solicit local microbreweries. They would be challenged to brew a beer with an alcohol level of 3.5%.
A study showed that students who consume a beer at 3.8% become less drunk than those who consume a beer with a rate of 5.3% “but that most have as much pleasure to consume one beer or the other “.
Exasperated bus drivers
In addition, the Syndicat des chauffeurs of the Société de transport de Sherbrooke is exasperated. Incidents involving drunken students have still occurred. “We always come back to square one (…) Everyone returns the ball”, launches the president, Jean-Pierre Guay. He said he would like UdeS to take the example of Bishop’s, where the problems of the genre have greatly diminished since the institution put in place various measures, including a code of conduct.