Booze views: Researchers to survey Yukoners on alcohol use

The Yukon government and Health Canada are teaming up to conduct a voluntary survey examining the views on alcohol use among residents of Yukon and Northwest Territories.

The Yukon government and Health Canada are teaming up to conduct a voluntary survey examining the views on alcohol use among residents of Yukon and Northwest Territories.

The study is “the first of its kind in Canada,” Yukon chief medical officer Dr. Brendan Hanley said in a press release.

Researchers want to get a better understanding of what people know and think about alcohol and the risks associated with it, said Erin Hobin, who heads the study. The information they gather will give Health Canada a better understanding of not only the attitudes present in the Yukon and N.W.T., but other parts of Canada as well, she said.

Alcohol is a leading risk factor in many health issues, including cancer, something “the majority of Canadians don’t understand,” she said.

“Alcohol is such a big part of our culture in Canada … I think it’s important to know where we’re at,” she said.

The study is “pretty large,” said Hobin, with Health Canada putting up $700,000 and about 2,000 residents of the Yukon and N.W.T. expected to participate.

Researchers hope the survey compliments other Yukon government efforts related to mental health and alcohol harm-reduction programs, she said.

There have been few large-scale studies on alcohol use and attitudes done in the territories, she said. This study is meant to fill a gap in the body of research, which helps governments better implement policies and programs.

The information collected is stored on a secure server, said Hobin.

“I understand that some of these questions can be rather sensitive so I want to assure people their information is secure,” she said.

The survey is the first part of a multi-part study, she said. Part two will begin in 2018, when researchers will continue to do surveys and to look at Yukon Liquor Corporation data on on sales to gain “a broader understanding of public purchasing patterns,” she said.

The survey is conducted through the Yukon Liquor Corporation in Whitehorse. Participants answer questions about their consumption, health risks associated with alcohol use, where they get their information about alcohol and their patterns of use. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and participants receive a $5 Tim Hortons gift card for their time.

The survey began May 5 and runs until June 3.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com.

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