“The SAQ is not a pharmacy”, pleads the new CEO of Éduc’alcool

“The SAQ, it’s not a pharmacy”, pleads the new CEO ofÉduc’alcool

The general manager of Éduc'alcool invites moderate consumption at the year rather than sporadic breaks, such as the 28 Day Alcohol Free Challenge.

The most recent Éduc’alcool survey showed an increase in excessive alcohol consumption during the pandemic in Quebec. Even if she does not sound the alarm, the organization’s new executive director, Geneviève Desautels, regrets that many are still raising their elbows to relieve their pandemic anxiety.

“The sanitary measures particularly hurt the level of mental health. And there, we go on our feed and we say to ourselves: “My God, there are people who open bottles. Why wouldn't I do it too?”, observes Geneviève Desautels, to whom Métro spoke a few days after taking office.

A bottle of wine uncorked on a Tuesday at noon, a gin and tonicon Wednesdays, Thursday beer seems to be becoming the norm again as soon as the health authorities tighten the screw. This is what contributes to excess, to the development of an addiction and then to dependence, worries Anne Elizabeth Lapointe, director of Maison Jean Lapointe.

What is excessive drinking?

As soon as you exceed the standards conveyed by Éduc'alcool, namely 2 drinks per day and 10 per week for women, and 3 drinks per day and 15 per week for men.

In his last  annual report, the SAQ recorded 222.3 million liters of alcohol sold in 2020-2021, an increase of 2.2%.  

While this increase may seem minimal, it should be remembered that alcohol sales in businesses such as restaurants have fallen sharply due to successive closures. 

We therefore now buy our own alcohol to consume it at home rather than at the bar or restaurant. And more are also bought at a time to “stock up,” the report notes. The average shopping basket has thus increased by nearly 50%.

But Ms. Desautels wants to be reassuring. “It is the people who are angry with the measures who will express themselves more on social networks [in relation to their consumption]. The polls also show that the majority of Quebecers consume as usual, it's just that they are quieter.”

“The SAQ is not a pharmacy”, pleads the news CEO of&Educ’alcool

Geneviève Desautels has succeeded Hubert Sacy as CEO of Éduc’alcool.

“The only thing to worry about right now is people using every day or using alone when they didn't before,” she adds.

In solution mode

The new executive director of Éduc'alcool says she does not want to tackle pandemic alcoholism directly, but more largely to the sustainability of healthy lifestyles in contexts of major change.

“I want us to be equipped to get through other types of events less funso that alcohol is not a way to self-medicate. […] The SAQ is not a pharmacy.”

During her mandate, she made it her mission to solidify the achievements of Éduc'alcool, but above all to tackling consumption at the source by targeting young people.

On his (long) to-do list: the You be the judge program, which will be integrated into the curriculum of students from grades 5 to 5 so that they understand the chemical effects of alcohol and are more informed about their choices. The training will also be offered online.

An update of the content of the organization's website as well as training in bars (Action-Service and Tableau de bar) are also on the menu.< /p>

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To target youth, Geneviève Desautels intends to push Éduc'alcool into modernity. Will the organization soon have a TikTok account? “Maybe,” she tells us. There has even been talk of an Éduc'alcool kiosk in the Facebook metaverse!

“We are already addressing young people differently [with humorous memes in particular]. We do not want to demonize alcohol, moralize them without trivializing consumption either, she explains. I want to do better, but differently.”

With Zoé Magalhaès

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