By Robert Frank
One in twelve Laval residents drinks so much that they put their health at serious risk, Laval’s regional health authority told The Suburban.
“We’re pushing prevention,” Lalie Bélanger-Dion said in an interview. “It’s better to prevent drinking from becoming a big problem than to try to fix it, once it does.”
“On Île Jésus, 82.4 per cent of the population partakes in alcohol,” explained Bélanger-Dion, who is responsible for fight against substance abuse file at Laval’s Agence de santé et services sociaux. (ASSS Laval) “A tenth of them are problem drinkers.”
Booze takes a terrible toll, she said. It can cause cancer, high blood pressure, cirrhosis and pancreatitis.
“Excessive drinking is not simply a health problem,” she added. “It also has a profound effect on the drinker’s loved ones.”
It can lead to violence, family strife as well professional and financial problems, she said.
ASSS Laval is encouraging residents who think that they might have a drinking problem to call their help line  627-2530.
“The phone number is not just for alcohol dependence,” Bélanger-Dion explained. “It’s also there to provide help for the problem drinker’s family. For example, women or children who are concerned that their father or husband consumes too much, and doesn’t know what to do about it can call us.”
“It’s also for people who are living through other kinds of psychosocial problems,” she continued. “Violence, depression or suicidal thoughts, for example. Anyone who isn’t doing well in general.”
The health authority www.lavalensante.com has published guidelines to help Laval residents know their limits:
At least two days a week should remain alcohol-free, to avoid becoming dependent.
Both men and women should avoid drinking more than two glasses a day.
Women should never consume more than three glasses at one sitting and should not drink more than ten glasses per week.
Men should never consume more than four glasses at one sitting and should not drink more than 15 glasses per week.
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