OPINION: Dan Malleck discusses proposed alcohol guidelines

Brock University Health Sciences Professor Dan Malleck had a piece recently published in the Hamilton Spectator about recommended alcohol guidelines included in a report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction.

Malleck writes:

“By now, you may have heard about the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction’s (CSSA) recent report that recommends, in order to avoid a litany of harms, Canadians should limit their consumption of alcohol to two drinks or less per week. The report, which significantly reduces internationally recognized recommendations of a maximum of two to three drinks per day, is certainly startling, but it is also irresponsible, misleading and harmful.

On the surface, it seems to have a solid scientific foundation: the CCSA claims its conclusions are based on roughly 6,000 scientific studies. Although it began with a scan of 6,000 papers, it then used vague exclusion criteria to reduce that number to 16.

And the deception doesn’t end there.

The CCSA’s assertions about increased risk of drinking alcohol are alarmist and distorting. For instance, according to its evidence, people who drink 40 grams of alcohol per day (about three drinks) have a 100 per cent increased chance of contracting tuberculosis. That sounds shocking. But given that people in Canada have about a two in one million chance of dying from the disease, a 100 per cent increased risk raises those odds to four in one million. In other words, people who drink that much go from having a 0.0002 per cent chance of dying from TB to a 0.0004 per cent chance. Is this worth freaking out about?”

Continue reading the full article on the Hamilton Spectator website.

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