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Canada's Guidance on Alcohol & Health

If you choose to drink, Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health will provide you with accurate and current information about the risks and harms associated with the use of alcohol. This guidance will help you make well-informed decisions about alcohol consumption.

Drinking alcohol has negative consequences. The more alcohol you drink per week the more the consequences add up.

Any reduction in alcohol use has benefits. Learn more at Canada’s Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.



    If you plan on drinking alcohol, here are some ways you can reduce your risk of harms:

    Know your limits.

    Before you drink, decide on the maximum number of drinks you will have. Sticking to your limits will lower your risk of harm.

    Plan to get home safely.

    When you start drinking, it’s harder to think clearly and make rational decisions. Plan how to get home safely before you start drinking.

    Eat before and while you drink alcohol.

    Eating slows down the absorption of alcohol. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can increase the effects of alcohol.

    Pay attention to how you're drinking.

    Drink slowly. Drinking too quickly can have an immediate effect and can lead to drinking too much, which can result in alcohol poisoning.

    Drink water between each drink.

    Alcohol dehydrates the body, so drinking water in between drinks will help to keep you hydrated. Alternate alcohol with water/non-alcoholic drinks to stay on target.

    Be careful about mixing alcohol with sweet or caffeinated drinks.

    Sweet drinks can hide the taste of alcohol and mask how much you are drinking. Caffeinated drinks, like coffee and energy drinks, can make you feel more alert, and you may drink more than intended.

    Don't leave your drink unattended.

    You should always keep your drink close to you and be careful when accepting drinks from others. This will help make sure that you know what you are drinking and that no one has added any drugs to your drink.

    Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs.

    Alcohol can interact with other drugs in unpredictable, unintended, and harmful ways and can increase the risk of harm than the use of each substance alone. It is safest to avoid mixing any substances with alcohol. If you're planning on using another drug, avoid trying it when you've been drinking.

    There are circumstances when no alcohol use is safest.

    • Driving a motor vehicle; 
    • While pregnant;
    • Using machinery and tools; 
    • Taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol; 
    • Doing any kind of dangerous physical activity; 
    • Being responsible for the safety of others; and 
    • Making important decisions
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