Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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The effects of too much alcohol

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While the majority of alcohol consumers in the province drink responsibly most of the time, there are occasions where people drink in ways that put their health and safety at risk. According to the Centre for Addictions Research of BC:

  • 40% of British Columbians admit to drinking in ways that could lead to falls, accidents or incidents of violence;
  • Almost 20% of British Columbians drink in a risky way at least once a month.

According to centre director Dr. Tim Stockwell, “illicit drugs get all the headlines, but alcohol causes more harm in terms of premature deaths and in health, social and economic costs.” Every year in BC,

  • the financial burden of alcohol-related harm exceeds $2 billion, and
  • 35% of British Columbians report that they have suffered physical, emotional or financial harm as a result of someone else's alcohol use.

Alcohol is a particular problem if the drinker is mixing substances, operating a motor vehicle or pregnant.

The modern view of alcohol

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1. Governments and the public are concerned about various issues related to alcohol over-consumption, including health issues, impaired driving and overall public safety.

2. As a result, the Centre for Addictions Research of BC and the BC Ministry of Health are promoting low-risk drinking guidelines.

3. Programs such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Drinking Driving CounterAttack provide a clear indication that society is no longer willing to tolerate the consequences associated with drinking and driving.

4. Young people are more aware than ever before of alcohol-related issues, as is evident in dry grads and designated-driver programs.

5. Laws and regulations have also changed as a result of this changing environment. Injured parties from alcohol-related incidents are taking their cases to court, where, increasingly, judges assign a percentage of the fault to commercial hosts.

6. Courts are placing an expanding responsibility on the owners, managers and staff of licensed establishments to provide responsible beverage service.

The impact of responsible beverage servicelogo placeholder

Implementing a responsible beverage service program in every alcohol-serving establishment in BC can decrease service-related alcohol problems. An RBS program provides servers, managers and licensees with the knowledge necessary to meet their responsibilities, including eliminating the sale and service of liquor to minors and reducing over-consumption of alcohol in licensed establishments.