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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
Variety of alcoholic drinks


Alcohol is a normalized part of relaxation, social gatherings, and celebrations. At the same time, alcohol is a psychoactive drug that can contribute to short-term, long-term, and second-hand harms. Knowledge of the impact that alcohol has on individual and community well-being can help to inform personal choices about alcohol consumption.

Short-term harms include:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Falls and injuries

Long-term harms include:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Liver disease
  • Cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and breast
  • Digestive problems
  • Mental health problems

Second-hand harms include:

  • Violence
  • Crime
  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Property damage
  • Family and relationship dysfunction

Guidelines for Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking

When it comes to alcohol, not all drinks are created equal. There are different flavours, different sizes and different amounts of alcohol. If you choose to drink, consider using Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines to help standard size your drink and reduce your risk of alcohol-related harms!

Reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:

  • 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day for most days
  • 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days

Reduce your risk of injury and harm by using no more than:

  • 3 drinks (for women) or 4 drinks (for men) on any single occasion

Avoid drinking any alcohol a few days every week. This will help you avoid developing a habit.

People who drink often overpour at home and many restaurants serve more than a standard drink in their glasses or bottles. For Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, a standard serving size beverage is:

  • 341 ml (12 oz) of beer, cider, or cooler (4 to 5% alcohol)
  • 43 ml (1.5 oz) of liquor (40% alcohol)
  • 142 ml (5 oz) of wine (10 to 12% alcohol)

Want to learn more? Check out this short video that explains Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines.

Assess Your Alcohol Use

Try the Saying When App to monitor how much or when you drink.

Getting Help

Looking for help? You are not alone. There are many programs and resources available to support you.

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Province of Ontario has Declared a Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives.  Read more.

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the provincial government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

Owner/operators of a businesses, workplaces and/or other community organizations who are unsure of how to adjust operations for COVID-19 are encouraged to visit sector specific guidance regarding provincial lockdown measures at or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. If you are unable to find an answer to your questions or need further guidance, please fill out this web form.

During the provincewide shutdown, no indoor social gatherings are permitted, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household. Outdoor gatherings must be limited to 5 individuals, and proper physical distancing must be maintained.

If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.