For the first time, Canada has one set of low risk alcohol drinking guidelines to help them moderate their alcohol consumption and reduce short and long-term alcohol-related harm. The guidelines are informed by the most recent and best available scientific research and evidence.
Alcohol is everywhere in our culture. People use it to celebrate special occasions, to socialize with friends, or to relax at home.
Advertising, movies and TV shows often portray alcohol as a normal part of everyday life, one that has no negative consequences. All those martinis don't stop James Bond from outwitting the bad guys, and those New York City girls drink a lot of cosmos, but can still strut in high heels.
When you see enough of these images, you may begin to think that other people don't have problems with alcohol. And if you are having problems, you can begin to feel as if you are the only one who "can't handle it."
There's a lot of misinformation out there about alcohol, too. Do you remember hearing that the European French were healthier than North Americans, even though their diet was higher in fat? Some studies said the reason was that they drank so much red wine. (The truth is that the benefits are limited to people 45 and older who drink small amounts occasionally — not every day.)
With all these positive, yet misleading, messages surrounding us, it's no wonder that alcohol is the most popular drug in Canada — and, as a result, Canadians are drinking more than ever before.
But here's the bottom line: while alcohol can be a pleasurable part of life, and does have limited health benefits, it is not risk free. It is an addictive drug that is linked to more than 60 diseases, including several different types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, heart disease and stroke. Drinking even small amounts increases your risk for those diseases — and no amount is safe for a pregnant woman. Don't forget the harmful events that can result from alcohol consumption, such as drinking and driving, falls, and injuries from violence.
Are you concerned about your use of alcohol? Would you like to reduce your use — or stop? Withdrawal from alcohol requires medical supervision. Before you make any changes, call the Addiction Services office nearest you.
For more information, go back to the top of this page and see the links on the right hand side of your screen.
Crown copyright 2011, Province of Nova Scotia, all rights reserved.
Page last updated 2012-08-10.