The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) recently released Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health (external PDF) to replace the 2011 Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDGs). This update reflects a shift from specific low-risk guidelines to general guidance about alcohol use to help people make well-informed and responsible decisions about their alcohol consumption.
The new guidance is based on an extensive review of the latest evidence about the risks and benefits of alcohol use. The research concludes that:
Halton Region Public Health partners with physicians to help prevent and reduce substance misuse by:
We also collaborate with physicians and share evidence-based practices to:
Patients seeking support for alcohol use can be referred to:
One of the most important actions people can take to improve their health is to quit smoking, as it remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease. As of 2018, 16 per cent of residents aged 20+ were current smokers in Halton Region.
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Patients seeking support with quitting smoking can be referred to:
You can find useful resources to support your practice at:
Physician training opportunities include:
Vaping can lead to nicotine addiction, which is especially problematic among children and youth who are more susceptible to the harmful effects of nicotine. Vaping product use is growing rapidly among youth, and there is limited research on the safety and long-term health effects of vaping products.
The aerosol produced from a vaping product can contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals. Health Canada (external link) advises that youth, persons who are pregnant, and those who do not currently vape should not vape. Canadians should not use vaping products obtained illegally.
Patients seeking support with quitting vaping can be referred to:
Non-medical cannabis use is legal in Canada, but there are health risks associated with its use. Canada's Lower-risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (external PDF) advise adults about how to minimize such risks.
Since legalization, more people are trying cannabis for the first time. Cannabis use among older adults (age 65 and older) has been accelerating at a faster pace than other age groups.
Patients with cannabis use concerns can be referred to:
Opioid use remains an important public health issue. There are continued concerns over the non-medical use of prescription opioids, recreational use of opioids (such as heroin) and the lacing of street drugs with powerful opioids (such as fentanyl) without users’ knowledge.
The rates for opioid-related harm in Halton are lower than provincial rates. However, there has been steady increase in both Halton and Ontario in the past decade for opioid-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations and deaths.
Before beginning opioid therapy for pain management, use a screening tool to assess a patient’s risk for misuse of opioids:
Free and confidential information for patients about opioid treatment options in Halton is available at:
For patients who are not ready to stop using opioids, consider sharing these harm reduction messages to reduce their risk:
Halton Region monitors opioid use in the community. The Region’s overdose early warning system enables rapid detection of situations involving opioids that require a public health or community response through data collection and surveillance, and by collaborating with community partners including first responders and hospitals. Opioid reporting provides a monthly snapshot of opioid activity in Halton Region.