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.
One Drink Equals
Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
|Tips for a Night Out|
Eat and drink water before and while drinking alcohol. Try setting a reminder on your phone.
Set a drink limit before you start drinking and stick to it . Try an app to help you keep track of your drinks.
Be aware of how alcohol affects you. Know when you’ve had enough and say so
Arrange a safe ride home before you start drinking.
Try to reduce the number of times you use alcohol each week. Daybreak is another app you can try if you’re looking to cut down or stop drinking.
If you’re playing drinking games, try playing with non-alcoholic drinks.
Top up your own drinks and finish one drink before starting another.
Only get in the car with a sober driver-decide who will be the designated driver before you go out.
Keep your drink with you at all times. If you have any doubts, make or order a new one.
Drink in good company – keep a good friend around.
Keep an eye out for each other – if you see a friend becoming too drunk, make sure they drink water, eat food, and stop drinking alcohol.
Sometimes friends will try to pressure you to drink when you don’t want to. You could use these strategies when telling others why you want to stay sober:
Be the designated driver-your friends will thank you and you will know they got home safely.
Make or order your own non-alcoholic drinks.
Tell people you’re taking medication. Many medications should not be combined with alcohol.
Say you have an a.m. workout. People respect long-term goals and physical challenges.
Tell people you are trying to save money- students understand the financial stress.
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.
|Reducing Alcohol Consumption|
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.
Build your drink refusal skills
“ I don’t think I’ll be drinking tonight, I’ve decided to take a break for a while”
“Thanks but I've already had my drink for the night and I'm sticking with water from here on. I've got a research paper to complete in the morning and it's already overdue."
|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.|
|When Drinking Becomes Problematic|
Wondering about your own alcohol use? Check out CCSA's Practical Guide to Assessing Your Drinking
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.
According to Health Canada, cannabis refers to the plant Cannabis sativa. Originally from Asia, it is now grown around the world, including in Canada. Allthougth the cannabis plant is used for medical, social or religious purposes, it is most often used because of its effects on the mind.
More speicifcally, cannabis contains many chemical substances, including more than 100 known cannabinoids. Some of these cannabinoids have effects on cell receptors in the brain and body, and can change how those cells behave and communicate with each other.
The most researched cannabinoid is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is responsible for the way your brain and body respond to cannabis, including the high and intoxication. THC has some therapeutic effects but it also has harmful effects.
|Cannabis and the Law in Ontario|
|Cannabis Use and Driving|
|Safer Use Guidelines|
To reduce the health risks from using cannabis:
|Greening Out: What it is and how you can prevent it?|
Greening out is a term used to describe the negative effects one may experience as a result of consuming too much cannabis.
Although everyone will experience a green out differently, it will generally cause individuals to experience all or some of the following side effects including feeling dizzy, nauseous, disoriented, anxious, experiencing mild hallucinations, a loss of balance, decreased mobility, low blood pressure and an increased heart rate.
New or infrequent users are more prone to greening out as they test their tolerance levels. However, all cannabis users have the potential to green out especially if they are sleep deprived, dehydrated or have not eaten.
Greening out often occurs as a result of consuming edibles and concentrates, which contain higher and more potent amounts of cannabis and thereby increases the potency of the experienced effects.
A green out typically lasts a few hours, although it is dependent on the amount of cannabis an individual consumes.
Experiencing a green out is a non-life-threatening condition, but when coupled with alcohol or other substances as it can increase the duration of negative effects and pose significant risks to one’s well-being.
To prevent a green out, it is important to start low and go slow, purchase your product from regulated retailers, do not mix with alcohol or other substances, ensure you are hydrated and have food in your system.
In the event that a green out occurs, it is crucial to stay hydrated, rest, stay with someone you trust, and stay calm as a fatal overdose cannot occur from consuming cannabis by itself.
According to Health Canada, vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol produced by a vaping product, such as an electronic cigarette (or "vape"). Unlike traditional cigarette smoking which requires burning, a vaping device heats a liquid into an aerosol (sometimes known as "vapour").
|The Dangers of Vaping|
Although many individuals think vaping is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, there are a number of risks associated to repeated use.
Truthfully, there is a lack of research on the long-term effects of vaping, however, the short term effects warrant enough reason to not start or continue to vape.
In fact, due to the various harmful effects on its users, the Canadian government has not approved any vaping products as a methods for smoking cessation.
Here are some of the known negative effects of vaping:
|Reasons to Quit|
There are many benefits that you will experience from quitting vaping that your body and future self will thank you for.
This is because vaping has the potential to negatively impair many different facets of your past, present and future life.
How vaping impacts your life:
Today is a good time to make the change, if you quit right now
Looking to quit?
We’re glad you’ve made this decision and hope you can soon reap the benefits of living vape free.
Here are some resources to help you to not start or continue to vape:
Illicit substances are drugs that are considered illegal to possess, produce or distribute.
To find information about substances, substance use, stigma, how to get help, and the Canadian drugs and substances strategy check the following Health Canada links:
It is worth mentioning that despite the legality of these drugs, it remains crucial to ensure that those who are using them are doing so safely.
|Steps to reduce your risk of an overdose|
If you are engaging in drug use, there are various measures you should take to decrease your likelihood of experiencing an overdose:
|Signs of an opioid overdose|
It is necessary to recognize the signs of an individual experiencing an overdose to assist them. The following characteristics are indicative of an individual who is experiencing an overdose:
Overdoses are considered medical emergencies, If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose call 9-1-1 immediately.
Do not worry about legal repercussions for the individual experiencing an overdose, yourself or others as The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act works to provide legal protection for anyone seeking or receiving help for an individual experiencing an overdose to increase willingness to receive help. Learn more about this Act here.What to do if you suspect an opioid overdose:
If you suspect a person is experiencing an overdose or unintended poisining: call 9-1-1
If you are looking for help with substance use do not hesitate to reach out to one or more of the following supports:
National Overdose Response Service (NORS)
Breaking Free Online
Health Connect Ontario