The Community Drug Strategy Committee, the Comox Valley Community Health Network and the John Howard Society North Island are pleased to sponsor a presentation by Harold R. Johnson, author of “Firewater – How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours). Mr. Johnson is a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation Band (Saskatchewan), a former Crown Prosecutor with the Ministry of Justice and a talented speaker and storyteller. He will challenge us to “change the story we tell ourselves about alcohol.” He will share his insights about alcohol, including its history, myths surrounding it and it’s impacts on our communities.

The evening presentation on Wednesday, March 6th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, is open to the public and admission is free. The event takes place at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College (2300 Ryan Road, Courtenay) and will include a Q&A period. Doors open at 6:30 pm and seating is on a first come, first seated basis. Copies of “Firewater” will also be available for purchase at the event. Please note that film cameras may be present.

“Alcohol has become such a normal part of everyday life that we are not paying attention to its health risks, especially over the long-term,” says Dr. Charmaine Enns, Island Health Medical Health Officer. “The toll that alcohol takes on people’s health and the health-care system needs to be challenged and we applaud Mr. Johnson’s ability to expose our societal blindness to it.”

“We are so pleased to support the Community Drug Strategy committee in starting this important conversation in our community,” says Lindsay McGinn, Facilitator of the Comox Valley Community Health Network. “Alcohol consumption rates have been increasing year over year, and the rates of use here in the Comox Valley are higher than both the Island and the Provincial average.”

The direct and indirect costs of alcohol to residents of BC, including healthcare, lost productivity and criminal justice are at $1.94 billion per year (or $420 per person, regardless of age). This is 3 x more than what alcohol brings in as profits. (Canadian Institute on Substance Use Research, 2014.) “Alcohol touches all of our lives, whether we drink or not.” (Harold Johnson). As we listen to Mr. Johnson’s story, we can also ask ourselves “what is the story we tell about alcohol”.

For more information about the March 6th presentation, please contact Karen at drugstrategy@hotmail.com or 250-339-3603.

Karen Rushton