On Thursday's GFB: Dave Woodford

Jan 03, 2013

By Dale Goldhawk

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11:15am ET | Dave Woodford, OPP sergeant
12:30 pm ET | Mimi Lowi-Young , CEO Alzheimer Society of Canada


GUEST – Dave Woodford, OPP sergeant

TOPIC – More Impaired Drivers this Year than in Previous Campaigns Says OPP

INFO – (ORILLIA, ON) – Despite continued warnings that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would be as visible as ever during their Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign, the OPP is disappointed that the number of motorists charged with impaired driving over the holidays is the highest it has been when compared to the last eight campaigns (from 2005 to present).

This year’s Festive R.I.D.E. campaign was conducted from November 24, 2012 to January 2, 2013 and OPP R.I.D.E. stops were set up around the clock throughout the province as OPP officers worked diligently to take impaired drivers off Ontario roads.

Over the five and a half week campaign, OPP officers charged 693 persons with having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over 0.08 (or over 80 milligrams).  Officers also issued a total of 625 Warn Range suspensions to motorists caught driving with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 (or between 50 and 80 milligrams).

During last year’s campaign (2011-2012), OPP officers charged 682 motorists with impaired driving and issued a Warn Range suspension to 583 drivers.  According to the OPP, there is no excuse for the number of impaired drivers being on the rise and it is a simple matter of people continuing to make bad decisions that impact public safety over the holidays.

“We had hoped to see these numbers decrease significantly during this year’s campaign, in light of how much harder we have worked to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving,” said OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.  “Impaired driving continues to be the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and it is disappointing that we still have Ontario drivers who feel entitled to place other road users at risk of losing their lives to an impaired driver,” Lewis added.

“In light of these Festive R.I.D.E. statistics, we will be as committed as ever in 2013 to incorporating the high visibility, professional traffic stops, public education and measurable outcomes supported by our Provincial Traffic Safety Program, in our ongoing effort to reduce impaired driving on Ontario roads,” said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Divison.

The OPP is reminding the public that they will continue to conduct R.I.D.E. stops throughout the year on Ontario roads.

The OPP would also like to thank and recognize Ontario drivers who kept everyone safe over the holidays by driving sober, as well as those who arranged for designated drivers and made alternate arrangements for getting home during their holiday celebrations.


GUEST – Mimi Lowi-Young , CEO Alzheimer Society of Canada

TOPIC – Alzheimer awareness campaign tackling stigma – See me, not my disease. Let’s talk about dementia.

INFO – TORONTO, Jan. 2, 2013 / CNW / – Imagine a close friend tells you she has dementia. Would you avoid her for fear of being embarrassed by what she might say or do? According to a recent poll by Alzheimer’s Disease International, 40 per cent of people with dementia reported they had been avoided or treated differently after diagnosis. It’s no surprise, then, that one in four respondents cited stigma as a reason to conceal their diagnosis.

That’s why, this January during Alzheimer Awareness Month, the Alzheimer Society is launching a nation-wide campaign called “See me, not my disease. Let’s talk about dementia.”  Its goal is to address myths about the disease, shift attitudes and make it easier to talk about dementia. Canadians are also invited to test their attitudes and perceptions in an online quiz at the Society’s website, www.alzheimer.ca/letstalkaboutdementia

Stereotypes and misinformation are what prevent people with dementia from getting the help they need and stop others from taking the disease seriously. Dementia is more than having the occasional ‘senior moment’ or losing your keys. The truth is it’s a progressive degenerative brain disorder that affects each person differently. It’s fatal and there is no cure.

“Dementia really challenges the values we hold as a society and what it means to be human,” says Mary Schulz, Director of Education at the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “We need to stop avoiding this disease and rethink how we interact with people with dementia. Only by understanding the disease and talking more openly about it, can we face our own fears and support individuals and families living with dementia.”

Today, 747,000 Canadians have dementia. While dementia can affect people as young as 40, the risk doubles every five years after 65.

“A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t immediately render a person incapable of working or carrying on with their daily life,” explains Schulz. “Many people with this disease tell us they want to continue contributing to their community and remain engaged for as long as possible.”  In fact growing evidence shows that involving people with dementia in meaningful activities that speak to their strengths helps to slow the progression of the disease and will improve their well-being. “Inclusion benefits all of us,” adds Schulz.

The number of Canadians with dementia is expected to double to 1.4 million in the next 20 years, and Anne Harrison, 60, whose husband has Alzheimer’s disease, understands what is at stake. “If people knew more about dementia, they could be more supportive. People aren’t ashamed of cancer. So, why should we be ashamed of Alzheimer’s?”

To help change the conversation, Canadians can

  • Learn the facts about dementia. Help to dispel inaccurate information to change society’s attitudes and opinions towards people with the disease.
  • Stop making jokes about Alzheimer’s which trivialize the condition. We don’t tolerate racial jokes, yet dementia-related jokes are common.
  • Maintain relationships with people with dementia at home, in the community or at work, especially as the disease progresses.

To learn more about the Let’s talk about dementia campaign, visit www.alzheimer.ca/letstalkaboutdementia

About the Alzheimer Society
The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading nationwide health charity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Active in communities right across Canada, the Society offers help for today through programs and services for people living with dementia and hope for tomorrow by funding research to find the cause and the cure.

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