Concern over BC Ferries beer and wine sales


    An announcement that BC Ferries will begin test driving alcohol sales on its Victoria-to-Vancouver runs starting next month is being greeted with some caution by the Director of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria.

     Dr. Tim Stockwell says he is relieved to hear the original proposal of 2 drinks per passenger has been reduced to a single drink in the Pacific Buffet. But he still harbours concerns:

"Personally I prefer if alcohol wasn't served on ferries, um, in transport facilities, and a sensitive vulnerable environment. And presumably people will be able to get 'round the system, they'll get friends to buy for them and so forth."

      Stockwell says it's just one of many ways alcohol is becoming more available in B.C. -- with no real discussion on what that is doing to our health, and health care.

" This is just one of many loosenings of alcohol's availability in a context where our consumption in B.C. has really been skyrocketing in recent years. And there's no discussion, really, about the overall effect on our whole population. The drip, drip, drip, the extra number of deaths. Because we have well over 2,000 deaths attributable to alcohol in the province each year, over 20,000 hospital admissions, and we estimate getting on for 40,000 years of life lost just from the effects of alcohol."

      While BC Ferries already offers beer and wine on northern routes -- it's the first time it will offer it on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen sailings.

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