$28.9 Million Of Alcohol In Circulation Last Year

November 22, 2013

7.6 million litres of alcohol valued at $28.9 million was in circulation in 2012, Minister of Public Safety Michael Dunkley said today [Nov 22] in the House of Assembly.

Speaking on a recent report about drug and alcohol use, the Minister said: “The data indicates that alcohol has become engrained in the social culture in Bermuda, as evidenced by, not only the breath test failure rates, but also by the amount of alcohol in circulation in 2012; which stood at 7.6 million litres, valued at $28.9 million.

“This is coupled with the fact that 663 liquor licences were issued in 2012, an increase of 43.5% over 2011. It is, therefore, no surprise that alcohol has remained the most used substance by residents in Bermuda.”

wine_bottles generic liquor

On the subject of cigarettes, the Minister said that in 2012 there were 29.7 million units of cigarettes in circulation domestically for consumption, valued at $1.9 million.

These stats were taken from the Bermuda Drug Information Network [BerDIN] annual report, which provides analysis of a two-year trend based on the available data.

The Minister said, “The report indicates that, overall, the drug situation in Bermuda has remained stable. Alcohol, tobacco [cigarettes], and marijuana are the most commonly used substances amongst the general adult population and youths; while heroin and cocaine remained the drugs of choice for problem drug users.

“As young people mature they tend to experiment with alcohol and other drugs. Recent surveys showed that Bermuda’s youths may be experimenting with alcohol and inhalants as early as age 7; while binge drinking appears to be popular with school age youths, including students of college age.

“Poly drug use, especially the combination of prescription drugs and illicit substances, is a growing concern. The limited available data suggests that heroin and cocaine are being used, knowingly or unknowingly, in combination with certain prescription drugs.”

Minister Michael Dunkley’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Public Safety, through the Department for National Drug Control, has completed the third Annual Report of the Bermuda Drug Information Network, BerDIN.

This year’s Annual Report provides analysis of a two-year trend (2012 data with comparison to 2011) based on the available data provided by agencies to describe changes over this specified period.

This publication represents the work of a broad spectrum of agencies and departments engaged in drug prevention, intervention, treatment, counselling, rehabilitation, enforcement, interdiction, health, and policy.

Mr. Speaker, historically, drug use is a difficult and complex phenomenon to monitor. Therefore, this report serves the purpose of providing a comprehensive overview of the current drug situation in Bermuda using multiple sources and indicators, with the intent of providing insight into the different aspects of the drug problem.

By and large, the BerDIN Annual Report monitors and accounts for local drug-related information from about 20 data sources, covering some 35 drug control areas, and providing measures for over 100 indicators.

Mr. Speaker, the report indicates that, overall, the drug situation in Bermuda has remained stable. Alcohol, tobacco (cigarettes), and marijuana are the most commonly used substances amongst the general adult population and youths; while heroin and cocaine remained the drugs of choice for problem drug users.

As young people mature they tend to experiment with alcohol and other drugs. Recent surveys showed that Bermuda’s youths may be experimenting with alcohol and inhalants as early as age 7; while binge drinking appears to be popular with school age youths, including students of college age.

Poly drug use, especially the combination of prescription drugs and illicit substances, is a growing concern. The limited available data suggests that heroin and cocaine are being used, knowingly or unknowingly, in combination with certain prescription drugs.

Mr. Speaker, in looking at referrals to drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities, there were less adults seeking drug assessments between 2011 and 2012; however, 35.2% of those who were assessed were classified as having substantial to severe drug abuse problems. On the other hand, there were more youth referrals for behavioural or substance use assessments during the same period.

The work of substance abuse prevention and treatment must be executed by qualified professionals, who are credentialed by the Bermuda Addiction Certification Board.

As of 2012, there were 34 persons certified as prevention specialist or treatment counselors in Bermuda. Approximately 21 of those persons are registered to practice as Addiction Counsellors under the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act.

Mr. Speaker, the efforts to stem the harm caused by drug trafficking and drug mis-use in this country would not be possible without the persistence of the interdiction and enforcement agencies.

These agencies continued their efforts against illicit drug trafficking by stopping drugs entering Bermuda; seizing guns, drugs, cash, and assets, and by arresting persons who violate laws.

Mr. Speaker, the data indicates that alcohol has become engrained in the social culture in Bermuda, as evidenced by, not only the breath test failure rates, but also by the amount of alcohol in circulation in 2012; which stood at 7.6 million litres, valued at $28.9 million.

This is coupled with the fact that 663 liquor licences were issued in 2012, an increase of 43.5% over 2011. It is, therefore, no surprise that alcohol has remained the most used substance by residents in Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker, although many residents failed the breathalyzer test during 2012, data indicates a small fraction of persons (39) enrolled in the DUI education programme, offered by the Bermuda Professional Counselling Services, as a way to reduce their sentence. When we looked at alternatives to incarceration, there were four persons who completed Phase IV of the Drug Treatment Court programme in 2012.

We are making some inroads, Mr. Speaker with the Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) programme for managers, supervisors, persons in-charge of bars, and servers of alcohol at on-premise licensed facilities. In 2012, 25 TIPS training sessions were held with an average of 13 participants per session, totaling 146 persons being trained in 2012.

Mr. Speaker, despite proven research of the harms associated with cigarette smoking, residents continued to smoke. Though we have amended policies to outlaw smoking in buildings and open spaces, there were 29.7 million units of cigarettes in circulation domestically for consumption, valued at $1.9 million during 2012.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, surveillance activities among the incarcerated population showed that drug-use patterns have not changed over the past two years with marijuana, cocaine, and opiates indicated in highest prevalence at the time of reception into the Westgate Correctional facility. Interestingly, a steady decline in poly drug use was observed during the same two-year period.

Mr. Speaker, these are only some of the findings presented in the BerDIN’s Annual Report. I encourage Honourable Members to review this report for a more in-depth account. This comprehensive report is one of the first steps in making us more aware of the current drug situation in Bermuda. The Government is committed to a healthier and safer Bermuda and an interconnected re-balancing of drug control efforts.

As global experience has shown, neither supply reduction nor demand reduction, on its own, is able to solve the drug problem. For this reason, a more balanced approach in dealing with the pervasive drug problem is a necessity. This includes more serious prevention and treatment efforts, not only in terms of policy, but also in terms of funds dedicated to these purposes to ensure programming meets the needs of the community.

Mr. Speaker, drugs continue to jeopardise the health and welfare of people throughout the world, and Bermuda is no exception. Drugs represent a clear threat to the stability and security of Bermuda and to its economic and social development. Drugs have become a deeply ingrained part of our daily lives and prevention cannot occur unless there is change in our social attitudes toward alcohol and drug misuse.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (55)

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  1. Back-in-the-day-girl says:

    Just imagine if that money stayed in people’s pockets and they chose not to drink. Every Bermudian would have an extra $460 at the end of the year.

    • Family Man says:

      Yes, but life would be very dull wouldn’t it?

      As you age you’ll find that one of the pleasures in life is sharing a nice meal and a good bottle of wine with friends.

    • Bermudian. says:

      and the unemployed would be ? Jokes yes.

    • Dano says:

      We (Bermudians) don’t spend $29M a year on alcohol. $29M is spent “in” Bermuda on Alcohol. A LARGE part of that number comes from vacationing tourists, business people or those that are not staying at a hotel but still staying with friends and relatives. I’m sure this number also includes purchases at the Duty Free Stores and at the airport as well and other places I may have neglected to list.

  2. Nothing but paper$$$$$$ says:

    Wish my last name was Goslings.

    • notagosling says:

      I am sure they don’t make as much as we would like to think.

  3. chek dat out.. read beteween di lines says:

    Gosling bra makin big noney off you drunks.. lol

    • Tommy Chong says:

      NOW! NOW!

      In other parts of the world they may call them drunks but in Bermuda they’re classified as, “social drinkers”.

  4. Truth is killin' me... says:

    That’s a lot of PI$$!!

  5. Terry says:

    663 licences issued in 2012.
    How does that equate.
    663 new openings?
    Statistics……..

    • Family Man says:

      Temp liquor licenses for events. It just means there was more to do in Bda in 2012 than there was the previous year.

    • RawOnion says:

      A liquor license is issued for a one night party/concert or event. There are many all year especially in the summer. That would equate to the 663 licenses issued.

    • Proud2bBermudian says:

      A liquor license don’t mean a new business opened. It’s simply stating I want to sell or serve liquor in a public place (party, dance, show etc.)

  6. sage says:

    So,people buy 7.6 million liters of alcohol here per year, dui’s were mentioned but no mention of accidents or fatalities, do we still not take these statistics? All we hear is “alcohol and drugs contributed to” without any specifics.Now kids are drinking at seven(can anyone say “Gateway Drug”)and binge drinking is rampant (how many underage youths got an ambulance ride from Beach Fest for alcohol poisoning, which is potentially fatal) Liquor licences nearly doubled last year and we have been told this sector has seen increased profitability during the recession.Why did we legalize alcohol sales on sunday again? Also to read comments by the executive director of the Center Against Abuse who said “someone who is abusive will target a specific person, so liquor doesn’t necessarily make a person abusive,” is true in that not everyone who drinks abuses people but drinking greatly increases the potential for violence and features prominently in a high percentage of cases so why encourage its proliferation.

  7. Tommy Chong says:

    Wonder what those who disagreed with Jonathan Starling’s statement of alcohol abuse in Bermuda have to say now?

    • RawOnion says:

      The only abuse of alcohol is when it is spilled or left on the bar unfinished.

      • YADON says:

        You may not find that so funny if it had been the destruction of every male in your family since recorded history. That is my reality. That is why I use cannabis that will not affect me in that manner if I feel the need to “relax”.

        • RawOnion says:

          And I have seen cannabis destroy the lives of people in my family and some of my friends also. And to use your own quote….”That is my reality. That is why I use alcohol that will not affect me in that manner if I feel the need to “relax”.”

          • haha says:

            Lol how did it destroy der lives…by sticking them to de couch and eating too much?! get outta here…

        • Dano says:

          @YADON, If you talk to someone that you know is an alcoholic, they don’t see it as a problem. Talk to someone that smokes weed constantly and you will notice the same problem. The problem is that most people don’t see the problem in themselves, even when a blind man can see it!

        • Proud2bBermudian says:

          Cannabis will show up later alcohol shows up much sooner. But trust and believe you will have a issue down the road.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      There is only one logical thing to do: legalize more ways to get high. Right Tommy?

      • sage says:

        and your solution is to prohibit everything that’s harmful then?

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          The logical answer is to add another problem. Another cause of accidents, addiction, and poverty. Great idea.

          • sage says:

            You are wrong.

          • Sara says:

            Sandy, pure fact here, alcohol can be highlyp hysically addictive. Marijuana can be mentally addictive at best. They are not equal by any means when it comes to the level of danger. Is pot harmless? Not when smoked as we all know smoking can have negative health effects. But when consumed through foods, teas, and vaporized, we see NO negative health effects. If people were free to grow their own or legally purchase for a fair price, they would be able to afford to consume marijuana safely. People can be mentally addicted to anything. By the way, have you read the latest research on sugar? It is horrible for your body and can be PHYSICALLY addictive. Lab rats given access to sugar and cocaine ended up preferring sugar. It wrecks our health and contributes to obesity like no other food we consume yet it is perfectly legal to consume as much of it as you want. I feel that children under 18 should not be able to purchase sugary foods or consume them! But nobody cares about my little emotional aversion to sugar…

            • Sandy Bottom says:

              Marijuana is certainly addictive. If you’re trying to assert that sugar addiction is worse than drug addiction, well, you lose.

              Legalising marijuana would add to poverty, social problems, and addiction.

              • Sara says:

                Sandy you are way off the mark. You haven’t done your research on this topic at all. You are stating opinions not facts here. Please explain how legalizing would make poverty and social problems worse. I would like to see where you got your information to state these as facts. And no marijuana is not physically addictive. That is a fact you should research. It is mentally addictive for some. And yes sugar addiction is possible. Ask an obese person if they eat sugar and how much.

              • sage says:

                What a load of BS.First no one dies from cannabis “addiction”but many people suffer and die from using sugar,in fact there is a self inflicted disease called Type 2 diabetes,maybe we should lock up people who abuse this substance and then need dialysis aren’t they technically “druggies” too,over burdening our health system ?The only poverty I foresee is when the cigarette,liquor and big pharma lose their market dominance,social problems, there’s certainly no shortage under this regime, an increase in some areas is possible since legalization should have happened 40 years ago,but at least we will have extra money to deal with it by ending this lost war.

            • Toodle-oo says:

              The question is Sara , is all the noise about the legalization/decriminalization of herb coming from people who ONLY want to use if for baking and making tea ?

              • Sara says:

                It doesn’t matter. It’s none of your business if someone wants to smoke or bake with it. People are perfectly free to smoke cigarettes so this issue plays no role in deciding if marijuana should be legal or not.

              • Sara says:

                Not to mention people can’t afford to make tea or bake with it because of the high cost due in the black market of Bermuda. It takes a lot more pot to consume it through these methods. You should be able to grow your own and choose to consume it however you please.

  8. terry says:

    All part of his run up to trying to get elected.
    Vodka anyone?
    Nadravida.

  9. hmmm says:

    In circulation. What does that mean? Is that the amount of unconsumed alcohol? If so, what use is a statistic of alcohol available for consumption? What is included, the full tanks of north rock brewery? Private wine cellars?

    I would think if it was “consumed” alcohol he would have said that. I’d like to know what exactly is meant by the term “in circulation” in this context.

  10. Dark & Stormy says:

    The definition of Bermuda.
    60,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock.

  11. Social drinker ya right I'm a drunk says:

    Wow Bermuda I guess we are all drunks and as I read this article one song comes to mind Bootsie song Bermudians love to drink *cheers to the weekend*

  12. Second says:

    I’m confused! Aren’t we going to open up more more avenues for the sale of liquor and extend the sale to Sundays? Are we for or against (concerned) about the amount of liquor consumed? Talking out of both sides of our mouths here?

    • Teetotalit says:

      No, you are not confused. Until this Minister and the rest of his Cabinet and across Government as a whole refrain from alcohol – paid for and consumed at the TAXPAYER expense – then the Minister’s statement about changing social attitudes is drivel. Just drivel.

  13. Time Shall Tell says:

    & we needed EVERY drop……

  14. sayitaintso says:

    Just what we need, another day for drunks!!! But some can’t buy uniforms and food for their kids. Give me a break.

  15. Come On Man says:

    We all know that this island has a drinking problem.

  16. Time Shall Tell says:

    Sounds like a build up to the introduction of higher & or new taxes on these items in the near future.. Stock up now while you can…

    • Sara says:

      I drink wine every week but I am all for increasing tax on alcohol and cigs to raise revenue. These are both highly addictive legal drugs, therefore people will tend to buy them at any cost.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        Most people don’t buy alcohol because they’re “addicted”. They buy it because they enjoy it. Stop trying to pretend every alcohol consumer is an “addict”.

        Are you an alcoholic, with your one or two glasses of wine every week? No. So give others the same credit.

        • sage says:

          The first sign of addiction is denial…

        • Sara says:

          Oh yes you are correct! And everyone that smokes pot isn’t a pothead!!!

          • sage says:

            Did you notice saying “I drink wine every week” translated to the proverbial “one or two glasses” minimalization strategy for sandy. When does the fine line between enjoying it and addiction get crossed? I bet you consider someone who smokes one or two spliffs a week as an unemployable addict.Hypocrite.

            • Sara says:

              I am not sure if you are asking me this but as stated above I was trying to explain to Sandy that not everyone that smokes pot is a pothead just as not everyone that drinks alcohol is a drunk.

              • sage says:

                Sorry I should have said “I bet she considers ……” and i agree with you, my point is that herb is far safer than alcohol, even when smoked, studies of long time heavy users show no evidence of any link to mouth, head, neck or lung cancers, something the researchers didn’t expect, to show how far reaching and pervasive false propaganda can be .At the end of the day, if we compiled a list of substances or drugs with the most potential for harm ,it would in no way resemble the clearly biased, politically influenced “schedule of drugs” which is based on lies and fear mongering.It should look something like this:Cigarettes (reportedly 6 million deaths annually,currently legal) ,Alcohol(deaths in the hundreds of thousands),Pharmaceuticals(one person dies every19 minutes in the US alone) followed by caffeine,sugar, salt , synthetic marijuana(particularly heinous legal poison created so people can still get high and pass drug tests, thanks, ganjaphobes) etc etc.PS since herb has never killed a soul and has so much potential to ease suffering it clearly shouldn’t be on the list.

  17. Triangle Drifter says:

    “We drink, we drink. Bermudians love to drink.” So the lyrics go in a song.

    So we spend $29M a year on drink. Nobody holds us down & pours it down our throats. Maybe Dinkley would like to let us know how much of that $29M is collected as tax & where would the money come from were it not collected as tax? I know, lets heavily tax milk.

    • Dano says:

      We don’t spend $29M a year on alcohol. $29M is spent on Bermuda on Alcohol. A LARGE part of that number comes from vacationing tourists, business people or those that are not staying at a hotel but still staying with friends and relatives. I’m sure this number also includes purchases at the Duty Free Stores and at the airport as well.

  18. Rum Swizzle says:

    You guys are making me thirsty!

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