Addictions Matter: National Addictions Awareness Week

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) is marking November 13-19 as National Addictions Awareness Week. Across Canada, organizations like CEWH and CanFASD are joining with CCSA to bring attention to problematic substance use in Canada. We are highlighting the imbalance between the societal, health and economic costs that substance use problems/addiction brings, and the funding provided for treatment and harm reduction services/supports.

dtnaaw-03-403x213-enCCSA has been a partner in our efforts to explore how addiction can make it difficult to stop alcohol use during pregnancy, and how women-centred approaches are needed in prevention, harm reduction and treatment. You can help us and the CCSA in promoting treatment, highlighting existing barriers, and finding solutions by supporting this campaign. Download the NAAW Toolkit to get ideas for social media postings and organization activities. You can also join the dialogue over social media by following @CCSACanada and using the hashtag #NAAWCanada.

See these earlier blog posts on addictions or “Search the Blog” on the left of this page:
Honouring our Strengths: Culture as Intervention in Addictions Treatment, June 5, 2014
Young Women United: Campaign to Increase Access to Care and Treatment for Pregnant Women with Addictions, February 18, 2014

Cancer and Alcohol: Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines


Last week, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) released Cancer and Alcohol, the first in a series of summaries of topics covered in Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. These summaries were created to address specific health concerns or to discuss how to apply the low risk drinking guidelines for certain populations.

The CCSA will release the next summary topic, Youth and Alcohol, on Friday, January 31, 2014, which will address why youth up to the age of 25 should minimize their alcohol consumption. The following Friday, February 7, they will release a Women and Alcohol summary that will address the unique effects of alcohol on females and why the low-risk drinking limits differ for women and men.

The Cancer and Alcohol summary was developed on behalf of the National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee (NASAC) in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Society. It highlights how drinking an average of one drink a day can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers.

While the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines overall suggest that women consume no more than 10 drinks a week and no more than two drinks a day most days in order to reduce long-term risks for multiple chronic illnesses, women who are interested in reducing their risk of developing cancer should drink less than one drink a day.

That said, even small amounts of alcohol increase the risk of certain cancers, so the less alcohol you drink, the more you reduce the risk of developing cancer. Any type of alcohol — beer, wine or spirits — increases the risk of cancer.

standard drink

All the summaries are available from the CCSA website at this location: The guidelines and summaries are available in French.

For more on Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines, see previous posts:

Licit and Illicit Drug Use during Pregnancy: Maternal, Neonatal and Early Childhood Consequences

New report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse


Earlier this week, at the Issues of Substance conference, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) released the report, Licit and Illicit Drug Use during Pregnancy: Maternal, Neonatal and Early Childhood Consequences.

The report outlines the unique harms of substance use for women in general and pregnant women in particular. It aims to raise awareness amongst healthcare providers, so they will explore these issues with their patients and provide unbiased, compassionate information to women of childbearing age and their partners.

In the press release, Dr. Jocelynn Cook, Executive Director of the Canada FASD Research Network (CanFASD) comments: “This report provides foundational information that will inform research, policy and practice related to substance use in the Canadian context. Thinking about the unique impacts of substance use on women, including FASD, is critical.”

You can download the full report or the Report in Short from the CCSA website (the report is part of the  Substance Abuse in Canada series).

The rise of binge drinking among women – CBC Radio podcast

The rise of binge drinking among women

Yesterday’s episode of The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti took a look at how women’s rates of alcohol consumption, while still lower than men, are continuing to increase.

You can listen to the 27 minute podcast here which explores sex differences in the effects of alcohol on men and women, changes in alcohol marketing, and women’s personal experiences with alcohol use. FASD is discussed later in the program as one possible unintended consequence of alcohol use.

Tremonti interviews Gerald Thomas from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, writer Jen McNeely,  David Jernigan from the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, journalist Ann Dowsett Johnston (check out her series on women and alcohol here), and Cocktail Deeva, Dee Brun.