Northern Alcohol Strategy
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:
- Prevention and health promotion
- Treatment and care
- Availability and access
- Safer communities
*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.
2. Ways to Help Your Community
Working together, individuals and communities can help reduce alcohol-related harms in many ways. Some ideas include:
- Sharing Canada's Guidance on Alcohol and Health with people in your community.
- Addressing concerns in your community through municipal bylaws or band council resolutions.
- Promoting family friendly, alcohol-free events.
- Helping prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder by supporting women who are pregnant in their choice not to consume alcohol.
- Learning more about SGI's grant programs that support traffic safety.
- Starting the conversation early by having age-appropriate conversations with children and youth about healthy and harmful alcohol-related behaviours.
There are many informative resources about alcohol-related issues and concerns that are available online.
- Further information about alcohol and drug support is available on saskatchewan.ca.
- Visit the Prince Albert Community Alcohol Strategy webpage to learn more about their strategy.
- Discover SGI Community Grant opportunities.
- Find out more about the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute's available resources and training.
- Learn more about SLGA's responsible liquor use initiatives and the Serve it Right Saskatchewan training.
- Learn more about your local SADD and MADD Canada groups.
- Find resources and learn more about the Canadian Managed Alcohol Program Study or read the case study about a community-led Managed Alcohol Program in a northern Saskatchewan community.
- Visit the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health alcohol webpage to learn more about alcohol to better understand its effects.
- Connect with national resources through the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.
- Register for our free virtual training. The training is open to service providers across sectors and community members to learn more about substance use with a focus on alcohol. To access the training, please register using this online form.
4. How We Can Help
Community Safety and Well-Being Community Program Managers can assist your community by providing support through:
- Community consultation and support with data collection, compilation and analysis
- Building partnerships and helping to bridge connections
- Helping overcome barriers to planning or implementation of communities' plans
- Providing templates that your community can use and adapt to meet your needs
- Providing presentations that outline the approach and outcomes
- Supporting community leadership in the development of their community-led action plan
- Starting the conversation
- Training in evidence-based approaches for human service partners