03/20/2014 01:48 EDT | Updated 05/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Cape Breton alcohol study says culture of drinking widely accepted as normal

SYDNEY, N.S. - A new study on alcohol use in Cape Breton Regional Municipality says a culture of drinking and intoxication is widely accepted as a normal aspect of local culture.

The study by a number of public agencies in the municipality says alcohol consumption is so normalized that people face tremendous pressure to drink when they socialize.

During a series of interviews, respondents spoke of their concern and frustration that community events are often sponsored by alcohol companies, even when the event is advertised as family friendly.

Respondents also say that impaired driving is increasingly common.

The report concludes the municipality has a problem with alcohol and that municipal policies developed to reduce the harms associated with drinking can be effective in changing the culture around its use.

The working group, which included police, local health and addiction officials, the health authority, and municipal councillors and staff, conducted interviews with more than 50 people from health care, law enforcement, youth and community groups in compiling its report.