Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
When it comes to alcohol, not all drinks are created equal. There are different flavours, different sizes and different amounts of alcohol. It's important to learn what a standard drink actually is, in order to stay within the limits outlined in Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and reduce your risk for acute and chronic alcohol related harms. Serving sizes may be larger than you think; check your pour.
Watch a short video that explains Canada's Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines:
Check Your Drinking. An anonymous survey, designed to help you, your loved ones or your health care provider answer questions about your drinking.
Saying When App. A free app for mobile devices that helps you take charge of how much or when you drink.
Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines
Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in Canada and worldwide. Under certain circumstances, cannabis can be prescribed for medicinal purposes. The federal government has stated that recreational cannabis will become legal in Canada on October 17, 2018.
Opioids & Other Drugs
Illicit Fentanyl Present in Our Community
The presence of illicit (non-prescription) fentanyl and other illicit drugs containing fentanyl have been identified within Hastings and Prince Edward Counties and surrounding regions. The local presence of illicit fentanyl has the potential to significantly increase the risk and rate of fatal overdoses within the region, because an amount of illicit fentanyl as small as 1 grain of salt can be fatal, and people may be unaware they are consuming it as it can be disguised as other drugs.
If you use drugs, use safely, never use alone, ensure you have access to a Lifesaver kit (Naloxone) and know the signs of an overdose.
If you are a parent, talk to your kids about the risk of drug use and potential overdose.
Lifesaver Kit (Naloxone)
Anyone who uses illicit drugs or is a current or previous long term user of opioids should have a Lifesaver kit. Lifesaver kits contain Naloxone in either an injectable or nasal spray format. These medications can temporarily stop an overdose caused by opioid drugs, which includes heroin, morphine, fentanyl, methadone, and codeine.
Individuals who receive the Lifesaver kit will receive training to both recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose as well as learn how to administer this life saving medication. Once Naloxone is administered, it is also imperative to call 9-1-1 as this medication only temporarily reverses the effect of overdose, enabling emergency support to arrive.
No one who is experiencing an overdose or helping at the scene can be charged with simple possession. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides an exemption from charges of simple possession of a controlled substance as well as from charges concerning a pre-trial release, probation order, conditional sentence or parole violations related to simple possession for people who call 911 for themselves or another person suffering an overdose, as well as anyone who is at the scene when emergency help arrives.
Naloxone nasal spray kits are available, at no cost, at all HPEPH health unit offices for people who use or have previously used drugs and their friends and family. Naloxone nasal spray kits or Naloxone injectable kits are also available at several pharmacies across the region at no cost. Availability of injectable or nasal spray formats varies depening on the pharmacy. Find a free naloxone kit at a location near you.
Needle Exchange Sites
Needle exchange sites are places where individuals can obtain new needles, sterile water, alcohol swabs, cookers, filters, ascorbic acid, and tourniquets, as well as sharps containers for safe disposal of used needles and cookers. These sharps containers can then be returned to any participating exchange site for safe disposal. Find a needle exchange site near you.
Safe Disposal of Medications and Sharps
Medications and sharps can be safely returned to various pharmacies throughout Hastings and Prince Edward Counties through the free Ontario Medications Return Program (OMRP) and the Ontario Sharps Collection Program (OSCP). As part of the OSCP, individuals are able to pick up sharps containers for use, and return these containers with used needles, needle tips and syringes, insulin pens, lancets and other used medical sharps. Individuals can also safely dispose of all unused or expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, including natural health products, under the OMRP. Find a "return" location near you.
Prescription medications should always be taken according to the directions provided by your health care provider, for the reasons the medications were intended and only by the individual the prescription is intended for.
All medications should be kept in a safe, secure location out of the reach of children, and any unused or out-dated medications should be returned to your pharmacy for proper disposal.
The Government of Canada provides information about the types, uses, effects, and mental and physical health risks associated with these drugs.
Talking With Your Kids About Alcohol and Other Drugs
Parents are a key influence in the lives of their teenagers, including their choices about alcohol and cannabis use.
Resources for Parents
- Cannabis Talk Kit - Know How to Talk With Your Teen
- Parent Action Pack - Stats, Facts, and Talking Points About Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Fentanyl Fact Sheet for Parents
Where to Get Help - Treatment and Crisis Lines
For information about substance misuse and addiction, please refer to the resources below.
- Addictions and Mental Health Services Hastings Prince Edward- 613-967-4734 (Free services for individuals 16+ experiencing problems with substance use, mental health and gambling.)
- Children’s Mental Health Services - 1-844-462-2647 (Free mental health services for children, youth, and their families, including psychological and psychiatric services, youth justice services, and residential services. Crisis line is available 24/7)
- ConnexOntario - 1-866-531-2600 (24/7, free, confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental health, and gambling. Includes live chat.)
- Crisis Intervention Centre - 613-969-7400, ext. 2753 (24/7 response to crisis calls and provision of emergency mental health interventions such as assessments, referrals, short-term crisis resolution, and information.)
- Kids Help Phone - 1-800-668-6868 (Counselling and information available through web chat, app, and by phone)
- Openline Openmind - 613-310-6736 (24/7 phone response for confidential information, support, and referral to mental health and addictions services in Hastings Prince Edward Counties. Services offered through walk-ins, appointments, emergency response, and outreach.)
- Youthab - 613-969-0830 (Provides employment, counselling, and housing services to young people in the Quinte area.)