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Alcohol And Your Health

How does alcohol affect my health 

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug in our society. It can play an interesting role in our lives and has long been socially accepted. While moderate alcohol use is not necessarily a problem, there are many factors that may increase the risk of harm such as choosing to drink:

  • At an early age,
  • Frequently or in large amounts or long term,
  • When taking with medications or other drugs that interact with alcohol,
  • When pregnant or planning to be pregnant.
The risks of drinking infographic


Short-term risks

Alcohol is a drug that has the ability to impair judgment and decision making and can have serious consequences.

Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time makes it difficult for your body to get rid of the alcohol.  Too much alcohol could lead to alcohol poisoning.

To lower these risks:

  • if you don't drink, don't start
  • if you choose to drink, follow the Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
  • eating well and being active are other ways to improve your health.
  • try non-alcoholic drink choices such as sparking mineral water and fruit juices.


Long-Term risks

Most people know drinking too much alcohol can lead to the trademark symptoms of a hangover, however, alcohol can increase your risk of developing the following:

  • Cancer
  • Liver Disease (cirrhosis)
  • Heart disease and stroke (high blood pressure)
  • Diseases of the stomach, digestive system and pancreas
  • Brain and nerve damage
  • Depression
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) from maternal use during pregnancy
  • Alcohol Dependence


Alcohol is among the top five risk factors for chronic disease, disability and death worldwide.  To learn more, visit:

World Health Organization link (2014)

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Canadian Cancer Society

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

Alcohol use has been linked with cancers of the breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus, colon and rectum, as well as liver and pancreas.

Drinking as little as one standard drink a day can increase your risk for developing cancer regardless of the type of alcohol consumed.

Check out MyCancerIQ to learn your risk and steps you can take to help reduce your cancer risk.

To learn more, visit: Library/CCSA-Cancer-and-Alcohol-Summary-2014-en.pdf

According to the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey 2017, alcohol is the number one drug used by youth in Grades 7-12.

Alcohol puts young people at risk for injury, alcohol poisoning and doing something they may regret. Furthermore, it may have a negative impact on their developing brain.

In order to avoid health and social problems, E’duc’alcool recommends the following:

  • Delay the start of drinking
  • Avoid taking any additional risks while under the influence of alcohol
  • Never drive while impaired
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help


To learn more, visit:

Using alcohol and cannabis together has more harmful consequences then using either one alone.

If you use alcohol and cannabis together, there may be a greater risk of negative side effects such as nausea, vomiting and impairment. 
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