Color & Control:


The price of alcohol use

High social welfare and health care costs are associated with alcohol disorders—but what causes them? A new study, based on a Bayesian network model reviewed 16 risk factors and associated costs: age, gender, marital status, unemployment status, and social problems like homelessness, illicit drug use, criminal record, and drunk driving.

Surprisingly, the number of diagnoses of chronic conditions played the biggest role, noting that in patients with at least two chronic conditions the average 5-year cost of care was 26,000 euros (around 30,000 US dollars) higher than in patients without multiple diagnoses. The cost of care was also increased by earlier use of specialized care (and its high costs), receiving income support, and being over 55 years old. As expected, sustained abstinence reduced costs so recommendations include developing easier access to early rehabilitation services and better attention and treatment for non-alcohol related conditions.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

Child marriage

Each day, 32,000 girls under 18 will be married. Worldwide that’s 12 million girls a year—one every two seconds. Many girls, (16 million a year), become pregnant before they’re physically developed and socially ready, thereby jeopardizing their safe, successful transition to adulthood. In addition, new HIV infections are 44 per cent higher in adolescent girls than boys. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15–18 year old girls around the world. And, many don’t even complete primary or secondary school which hampers their earning ability. Of note: Research also shows that a girl’s income increases by 11 per cent for every year she stays in school.

Source: Plan Canada

Slashing ‘excessive’ fees for disability tax credit consulting

Finally, Canada Revenue Agency is implementing a dramatic slash of what it calls “excessive” fees charged by companies to help Canadians apply for the disability tax credit. Fees can be 15 to 40 per cent depending on the company with a collective industry take of $25 million a year according to CRA. Proposed new fees would charge $100 for an application to determine eligibility, another $100 to actually apply, and then $100 for each year the credit is retroactive.

Source: CRA Canada

Watch for a link between Bipolar and substance abuse Research shows that over 60 per cent of people with bipolar disorder are vulnerable to substance abuse problems. Distressed with stigma and wild swings of emotion, many turn to drugs and alcohol to try and manage their symptoms.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Too much COVID-19 info?

According to the WHO, 361 million videos were uploaded on YouTube during the first 30 days of the COVID-19 pandemic under the “COVID-19” and “COVID 19” classification, and about 19,200 articles were published in Google Scholar. In the month of March alone, 550 million tweets included the terms coronavirus, corona virus, COVID19, COVID-19, COVID 19, or pandemic.

As expected, many were inaccurate and from unauthorized sources leading to dangerously publicized fake cures, bad advice and consumer confusion. Lesson learned: Clear, concise info from trusted sources needs to find a better way to deliver the right message. P.S. Hats off to our federal and provincial medical officers for their diligent efforts in keeping Canadians well informed.

Source: Pan American Health Organization

Spotlight on…

Food Secure Canada

Food Secure Canada is a pan-Canadian alliance of organizations and individuals working together to advance food security and food sovereignty. Committed to Zero Hunger so that all people at all times are able to acquire, in a dignified manner, an adequate supply of culturally and personally acceptable food, FSC works with its members towards deep and lasting change in our food system. FSC also fosters democratic debate on food policy and advocates for food policies at the federal level that reflect the priorities of Canada’s food movement.

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