Alcohol and Your Health

Alcohol can be harmful to your health. Physical, mental, emotional and social issues increase when someone uses alcohol at an early age, in large amounts and often, with other medication or drugs or when pregnant, planning to be pregnant or breastfeeding.

How Does Alcohol Affect my Health?

The short-term risks of drinking alcohol include slowed reaction time, impaired judgment and decision making. 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. Learn more about binge drinking

Mixing Alcohol with Other Drugs

Mixing alcohol with medications, caffeine or cannabis can have serious consequences. Using more than one drug at a time, whether it is alcohol, cannabis or other drugs, can increase impairment. This leads to unpredictable changes to how you think, feel and act. If you are drinking, do not mix your drink with a caffeinated beverage.

Alcohol and Cancer

Alcohol is linked to cancer of the breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus, colon and rectum, as well as liver and pancreas. The more you drink, the higher your risk of cancer. The type of alcohol does not matter. If you choose to drink alcohol, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends that to reduce the risk of developing cancer, women should drink less than one drink a day and men should drink less than 2 drinks a day.

Find out My CancerIQ and steps you can take to help reduce your cancer risk.

How Does my Drinking Compare to Others? 

Do you want to know how your drinking compares to others or are you concerned about your drinking? Try this free, anonymous and bilingual survey. When you have finished the survey you can print or email your results directly to yourself, your physician or other health care professional.

Alcohol Affects Your Community

Alcohol use can impact persons who drink and others. It can also increase costs to community services such as police, paramedics or hospitals.

Second-hand Effects of Alcohol in the Community

A term used to describe the harm or costs to a community from someone else's drinking is called second-hand effects of drinking. Second-hand effects are often linked with heavy or binge drinking. Examples include alcohol-related crimes, violence, impaired driving, family harm and costs of community services like police or hospitals. Read more about the impacts of alcohol use in Ottawa: Let's Continue the Conversation: Status of Alcohol in Ottawa report


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