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Douglas Capraro Douglas Capraro

Video: How Alcohol Prohibition Is Hurting Northern Canada

In remote areas of Canada, alcohol prohibition is contributing to high rates of addiction, crime and poverty.

7 Substance

What if alcohol prohibition had never been repealed? This is the reality for people living in Nunavut, the northernmost region of Canada, where alcohol has been banned for years in 95% of the territory. And things there are pretty bleak. The region is mostly comprised of Inuits, who were forced out of a traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle only two generations ago. In addition to a crime rate four times higher than the national average, the communities have struggled with a high rate of alcoholism, which persists despite (and maybe even because of) prohibition.

In this documentary, Vice visits Nunavut to see how prohibition has affected people’s lives. One resident says living in a dry county makes alcohol more appealing to young people because “[it's] a huge high to try and get booze.” Alcohol is sold on the black market at a steep price, which contributes to the high crime rate as well as to poverty. “I don’t blame the bootleggers, I blame the system,” says a local cab driver. “There would be no bootleggers if [alcohol] would be legal.”