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Elk Point Co-op pulls Listerine and Lysol from shelves


Diane Parenteau, Windspeaker Correspondent, Elk Point Alta.







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The Elk Pint Coop groceteria has decided to take two household products containing high levels of alcohol off its shelves.

The two products, Lysol disinfectant and Listerine mouthwash, have been linked to high incidents of shoplifting and are suspected of being misused.

Store manager Rodger McLaughlin said he won't be reordering the two products once stock has been depleted. In fact if that doesn't happen fast enough, he plans to ship remaining supplies to the St. Paul store.

"It's a continual thing we have to watch on the shelves," said McLaughlin. "One day I walked into the washroom to wash my hands and there was an empty Listerine box and a bottle of watered-down Listerine. It's becoming too much of a problem."

Frog Lake Band Councilor George Frying pan said he is 100 per cent behind the Elk Point Coop's decision.

"For the good of our community and as a councilor, I would like to encourage all other businesses to do the same," he said "These substances are poisoning our people and our community."

McLaughlin spoke to local RCMP officers, who described the solvent abuse situation in Elk Point as getting out of control.

Const. Doug Huskins, who has been with the Elk Point detachment for six years, has noticed a recent increase in solvent users.

"Most of our intoxicated people in the last six months to a year have been drinking these substances. This is your mill of the afternoon type drunk. An awful lot are using Listerine and Lysol. I think there is a definite abuse," said Huskins.

Both Listerine and Lysol contain about 60 per cent alcohol, according to St. Paul AADAC director Sharon Steinhauer. She said there's a growing concern about Lysol, because there are so many other things in it.

"Alcohol does the same thing for people (in all forms) but it's a stronger concentration (in Lysol and Listerine) so they get drunk quicker," said Steinhauer.

The St. Paul AADAC office had been approached by local RCMP with their concerns about solvent abuse. Steinhauer is unable to say how many people in the area may use the products.

"There are straight people, not down on the street, who chug-a-lug mouthwash." said Steinhauer. "Adults, who are drinking Lysol and Listerine mouthwash, aren't coming to us for treatment."

She applauded McLaughlin's decision to take the two products off shelves. The move is also supported by Elk Point RCMP, which is urging other area retailers to follow suit.

"When I made the decision I have it a lot of thought," said McLaughlin. "I feel very positive right now I did the right thing. There are alternative (products) for those people, who want those items."

Response from the general public has been mixed -- some people stopped him in the street to shake his hand wile others phoned to voice their disapproval.

A 35-year-old Fishing Lake man, who asked his name not be used, feels banning the products won't stop people from abusing them. He admits to using the product as a substitute for liquor but says he's never stolen to get it.

"It's pretty deadly stuff," he says, "but I still go through with it. It's cheaper and easier to get.

"Alcohol is not bad but after a Listerine or Lysol party you can't sleep, your whole body shakes. You hallucinate more than with alcohol. After you go through that experience you say you'll never drink it again but when it comes around you do."

"You go to town to the liquor store and it doesn't open till 11:00 (in the morning) so you substitute with Listerine. I don't use it much, just as a substitute before I get to town."