Skip to content

Drugs, Alcohol and Cannabis Use

Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health

Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health provides evidence-based advice on alcohol to support people in making informed decisions about their health. The guidance is based on the latest research on alcohol-related risks and replaces Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDGs) issued in 2011.

The guidance is based on the principle of autonomy in harm reduction and the fundamental idea behind it that people living in Canada have a right to know that all alcohol use comes with risk.

Key points from the guidance include:

  • There is a continuum of risk associated with weekly alcohol use where the risk of harm is:
    • 0 drinks per week – Not drinking has benefits, such as better health, and better sleep.
    • 2 standard drinks or less per week – You are likely to avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself or others at this level.
    • 3–6 standard drinks per week – Your risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer, increases at this level.
    • 7 standard drinks or more per week – Your risk of heart disease or stroke increases significantly at this level.
    • Each additional standard drink radically increases the risk of alcohol-related consequences.
  • Consuming more than 2 standard drinks per occasion is associated with an increased risk of harms to self and others, including injuries and violence.
  • When pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there is no known safe amount of alcohol use.
  • When breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest.
  • No matter where you are on the continuum, for your health, less alcohol is better.

Cannabis and Cannabinoids


Impacts of Stigma and Discrimination on People Who Use Substances in LGL (Health Canada Substance Use and Addictions Program Grant 2020-2023)

Stigma and discrimination experienced in our health and social services systems by people who use substances results in chronic stress, reduced access to health and social services and an increased risk of violence and assault, resulting in greater risk for experiencing poorer health and social outcomes.

In 2023, the Health Unit completed a 3 year Health Canada Substance Use and Addictions grant project to gain a better understanding of the experiences of accessing services in LGL by people who use substances as well as the experience of providing services to people who use substances.  The following reports summarize the results of research conducted;

The Health Unit produced a workshop Impacts of Stigma and Discrimination on People Who Use Substances in LGL to share the lessons learned from the project, to expand the understanding of the impacts of stigma and discrimination for service providers, and to provide interventions at the personal and organizational level. The workshop can be self-directed or done with others. It provides opportunities for participants to practice self-reflection, participate in group discussions and commit to making change in their agencies and communities.

Workshop Resources

More Stigma and Discrimination Learning Opportunities

  • Stigma Ends with me – CAPSA
  • Understanding Stigma – CAMH
  • Opening Minds – MHCC

To find out more about substance use and harm reduction please visit the Drug Use and Harm Reduction Section or send us an email [email protected].