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The Northern Alcohol Strategy (NAS) empowers and inspires communities to have important conversations about the unhealthy uses of alcohol. The NAS promotes community collaboration while using evidence and healing-centred approaches in order to reduce alcohol-related harms.
The initiative started as a grassroots project that successfully reduced the impact of alcohol on the safety and well-being of a northern Saskatchewan community. It has expanded to include partnerships both inside and outside of government. The NAS now responds to requests for support from communities throughout the province.
The NAS is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, within the Community Safety and Well-being (CSWB) branch. The NAS's work aligns with CSWB's framework and strategic focus on collaboration, information sharing and measuring success.
CSWB supports numerous communities at various stages of alcohol management planning by assisting with data collection and outcome monitoring. With their support, communities continue to successfully achieve outcomes that increase their safety and well-being.
The NAS uses a collaborative, public health approach that emphasizes community development and empowerment. The approach acknowledges the unique needs and circumstances of individuals and communities. Alcohol use is addressed on a spectrum ranging from mild to severe. Recognizing the spectrum of alcohol use helps us understand the impacts of different patterns of alcohol consumption. Under the approach it is considered necessary to create interventions and support systems that not only respond to severe alcohol dependence, and also address binge drinking and challenge the normalization of unhealthy alcohol consumption.
The NAS is a multi-strategy approach* that focuses on:
*Adapted from: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction's Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm in Canada: Toward a Culture of Moderation (2007)
The NAS method acknowledges that the social issues affecting a community's safety and well-being are interconnected; thus, when communities address alcohol related issues, every sector is positively impacted (education, justice, health, business, industry). For this reason, communities are supported to engage with every sector in the planning. Locally or regionally led interagency committees may create a Community Alcohol Management Plan (CAMP) or Community Safety and Well-Being Committee to oversee the work and to design and implement a community action plan.
Communities are encouraged to consider inviting neighbouring communities (municipalities and First Nations) to participate in order to co-ordinate regionally, and to ensure that the people and services that operate across jurisdictions are working collaboratively.
Working together, individuals and communities can help reduce alcohol-related harms in many ways. Some ideas include:
There are many informative resources about alcohol-related issues and concerns that are available online.
Community Safety and Well-Being Community Program Managers can assist your community by providing support through:
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