Young Nova Scotia adults will be better informed about the effects of excessive drinking through a public education campaign being launched as part of Addictions Awareness Week, Nov. 19-25. The campaign, being launched by the Department of Health Promotion and Protection and aimed at 19- to 29-year-olds, explains the physical impact of alcohol, provides advice on safer drinking approaches, and offers tips on how to recognize alcohol poisoning. The campaign also includes contact information for addiction services. “Our research shows young adults want relevant and objective facts about extreme drinking and practical tips that can help them make good decisions,” said Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet. “That’s what this campaign does.” Research in 2005 indicated that alcohol consumption among young adults in Nova Scotia is supported by a subculture that glamorizes drinking, intoxication and alcohol-related consequences. Research indicates that young adults plan their over-drinking, but not how to deal with its impact. Most young adults were familiar with alcohol poisoning, but few knew the consequences of acute or chronic over-drinking, or what to do in an emergency involving alcohol. Young adult Nova Scotians also thought drinking and driving among their peers was still the norm, although they acknowledged that it was not considered socially acceptable. Health Promotion and Protection will follow up with a representative sample of 19- to 29-year-olds to see whether the extreme drinking public education campaign had an impact on their behaviour. “This campaign is just one facet of the work we’ll be doing with addiction services throughout the province to change the culture surrounding drinking in Nova Scotia,” Mr. Barnet said. The extreme drinking education campaign is part of the department’s ongoing efforts as it works with stakeholders to develop an Alcohol Strategy for Nova Scotia. In 2004, the provincial government identified harmful alcohol use as an important public health issue. Nearly 20 per cent of Nova Scotians consume alcohol in a way that hurts their health and well-being. It is estimated that the annual health, social, and economic costs of harmful alcohol use in this province is $419 million, or $413 for each Nova Scotian. The campaign is one of many activities planned throughout the province by addiction services at local district health authorities as part of Addiction Awareness Week.