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Communities Take Action!

Groups Release New Resource to Help Communities Take Action on Alcohol-Related Problems

TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public Health Association's Alcohol Policy Network and the Addiction and Mental Health Services Corporation (ARF Division), released a new resource to help communities tackle alcohol-related problems ranging from bar violence, to drinking and driving to underage drinking.

Communities Take Action!, a guide for those concerned about the impact of alcohol on public health and safety outlines a proactive, collaborative approach to improving the health and quality of life of local communities. The user-friendly resource was developed over a two and a half year period with input from numerous partners including the Metro Toronto and Peel Region Police, Liquor Licence Board of Ontario (now the Alcohol and Gaming Commission), Parkdale Focus Community Project, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and the municipalities of Toronto, Windsor and Niagara Falls.

The guide is divided into five sections and includes:

- an overview of alcohol consumption in Ontario as well as federal and provincial controls on alcohol

- an outline of local powers with respect to alcohol, including bylaw development, enforcement and policies to control alcohol on municipal property/events

- key areas where local communities can make a difference including management of alcohol availability, regulation of municipal facilities, provision of server training and more effective monitoring and enforcement

- practical steps community residents, police and policy makers can take to get started

- tools and resources for action including a comprehensive contact list, a list of resources and questionnaires to help community leaders and groups identify local ``hot issues'' and priorities for action.

``Ontario surveys show public support for controlling access to alcohol and increasing efforts to reduce service to intoxicated persons. In a time of budget cut-backs, providing resources for the community is

more important than ever,'' says researcher Dr. Norman Giesbrecht of the Addiction and Mental Health Services Corporation.

``Communities Take Action! dispels the notion that all power for controlling alcohol-related problems is in the hands of the provincial government or the police. Communities can, in fact, take practical steps - proactively to prevent such problems, or reactively to manage them,'' says Denise De Pape, Manager of Substance Abuse Prevention, Toronto Public Health, North York Office and founding member of the

Alcohol Policy Network.

Simone Cusenza started the Parkdale Community Watch Program after she got tired of seeing rowdiness and violence caused by easy access to alcohol. ``It's easy to feel helpless when you're just watching things go on around you,'' she says. ``Material like this says you can make a difference and effect change in your community.''

Communities Take Action! is available from AMHSC Marketing Services at a price of $19.95 ($24.95 outside of Ontario) plus GST.

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