Safe Alcohol Use

Post-secondary students drink more frequently and consume greater quantities of alcohol than their non-student peers. Students drink for a lot of reasons-peer pressure, wanting to have fun, to socialize, to be drunk, being bored or lacking alternatives to drinking, or to make up for times when they could not drink (e.g., exam period). If you choose to drink, for whatever reason, it’s important to know how to stay safe.

What’s in a Drink?

Many people are surprised to learn what counts as an actual drink. In Canada, a ‘standard’ drink is any drink that contains about 13.6 grams of “pure” alcohol. Once you know what a standard drink is you will know how much alcohol you are actually drinking.

 
Tips For a Night Out

Here are a few tips to have an enjoyable night out while staying safe.

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Reducing Alcohol Use

Contrary to public opinion, not everyone on campus is drinking. In fact- alcohol consumption is on the decline at Lakehead. It can still be hard to say no in the moment so it’s best to practice what you will say ahead.

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Alcohol-Free Activities On- and Off-Campus- Thunder Bay

Reducing your alcohol consumption or abstaining altogether doesn't mean you have to lock yourself in your room. There are a lot of things to do that don't involve a drop of alcohol.

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Alcohol-Free Activities On- and Off-Campus- Orillia

Reducing your alcohol consumption or abstaining altogether doesn't mean you have to lock yourself in your room. There are a lot of things to do that don't involve a drop of alcohol.

Orillia alcohol free

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Binge Drinking

Binge or heavy drinking, referred to technically as heavy episodic drinking, poses serious health and safety risks. Young adults, particularly post-secondary students, are more susceptible to these risks.

Binge Drinking

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Problem Drinking and Seeking Help

warning signs

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Wondering about your own alcohol use? Check out CCSA's Practical Guide to Assessing Your Drinking 

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is when there’s too much alcohol in your blood, and it causes parts of your brain to shut down. It’s also called alcohol overdose. Alcohol is a depressant. That means it can affect your brain and nervous system to slow your breathing, your heart rate, and other important tasks that your body does. Your liver usually does a good job of keeping alcohol's toxins from getting into your bloodstream. But if you drink a lot in a short time, your liver may not be able to keep up.

Alcohol poisoning can lead to brain damage or death. If you’re with someone who might have drunk too much, call 911 right away.

 Alcohol poisoning

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Resources
Apps

Cannabis

Cannabis and the Law in Ontario
  • You must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.
  • You are able to have a maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried cannabis (or equivalent) in public at any time. One gram of dried cannabis is equal (equivalent) to:
    • 5 grams of fresh cannabis
    • 15 grams of edible product
    • 70 grams of liquid product
    • 0.25 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid)
    • 1 cannabis plant seed
  • Cannabis edibles are legal in Canada as of October 17, 2019. Edible cannabis products are allowed to have:
    • up to 10 milligrams of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in a single package
      • up to 30 milligrams of caffeine, if it is naturally occurring (for example, in chocolate, coffee and tea)
      • Edible cannabis products must contain no nicotine or added alcohol.
Cannabis Use and Driving
  • Driving a vehicle while you’re impaired by cannabis is illegal and dangerous. This includes cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles.
  • You are not a safer driver when you’re high. Cannabis affects your judgment, coordination and reaction time, and increases your chances of being in a collision. In 2016, 74 people were killed in collisions involving a driver under the influence of drugs in Ontario according to police reports.
  • Since the effects of cannabis vary, there is no way to know exactly how long to wait before it’s safe to drive. Even if you think the high has worn off, your ability to drive may still be impaired.The best way to avoid impaired driving is to not take a chance. 
  • Police have tools and tests to detect impaired drivers, including roadside drug screening equipment and sobriety tests. If a police officer finds that you are impaired by any drug or alcohol, you will face serious penalties, including:
    • an immediate licence suspension
    • financial penalties
    • possible vehicle impoundment
    • possible criminal record
    • possible jail time
Safer Use Guidelines

To reduce the health risks from using cannabis:

  • avoid smoking cannabis
  • reduce how often you use cannabis
  • delay using cannabis until later in life
  • avoid smoking or vaping cannabis products and consider edible cannabis (which is safer for your lungs than smoking cannabis), but be aware that edibles are not risk-free and that it can take longer to feel the effects of edible cannabis than other forms
  • avoid using edible cannabis from an unauthorized retailer to ensure that products are safe to consume and free of contamination
  • avoid using synthetic cannabis (for example K2 and Spice)
Resources

Ontario Cannabis 

10 Ways to Reduce Risks to Your Health When Using Cannabis

Health Effects of Cannabis

Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines

Substance Use Resources

  • Breaking Free from Substance Use is an evidence-based wellbeing and recovery support online program, free for residents of Ontario.