Canada’s leading health authority has officially acknowledged that “some” Canadians “may choose” to consume alcohol, cannabis or other drugs while celebrating this holiday season.
However, Health Canada said in a release Wednesday, the safest option is to not consume these substances at all.
The call comes amid a recent onslaught of related information from health authorities and government on the use of weed, weed-derivates, vaporizers and alcohol.
Canadians are receiving all this messaging as they head into the days where many of them will be spending hours upon hours with immediate and extended family, watching and listening to songs and movies they have likely experienced on a repeated basis for years, and going full capitalist at the local shops and online.
In a statement made Tuesday, Health Minster Patty Hajdu expressed her sobering sentiment.
“The best way for Canadians to protect their health is not to consume cannabis,” she said while speaking to the regulation and potential risks surrounding the next wave of cannabis products starting to appear in stores this week.
Meanwhile, seasonal marketing at provincial alcohol retailers is in full-swing.
A click on the BC Liquor Stores website reveals large, festive banner ads recommending “Holiday favourites perfect for entertaining” and suggesting customers “Say cheers with spirits.”
Physical alcohol vendors are decorated with all the trimmings of the holidays.
Down the street, plainly packaged cannabis sits behind frosted panes of glass.
The prevailing disparity between the two products has spurred some to remind people no one has ever died from consuming cannabis.
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— 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐚 𝐤𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐧𝐚𝐧 (@ManishaKrishnan) December 17, 2019
The BC Centre on Substance use reminded the public Tuesday that alcohol addiction is the most common substance-use disorder in British Columbia, as it released the country’s first guidelines for treating alcohol addiction.
Earlier this year, the Canadian Institute for Health Information stated that alcohol consumption is the top cause of hospitalization for harm attributed to substance use across all jurisdictions.
But, in the Prime Minister’s recent mandate to the Minister of Health, he said cannabis should continue to be strictly regulated and did not mention alcohol.
Health Canada’s tidings for a safe holiday
- Do not drive after consuming alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. Decide who will be the designated driver before you consume any substances. Otherwise, take a taxi, walk, or use public transportation.
- Do not get into a car if you suspect the driver has consumed alcohol, cannabis or other drugs, and ensure that the driver does not continue driving.
- Avoid mixing substances such as alcohol, cannabis and other drugs. The results can be unpredictable and dangerous.
- To buy, possess or use alcohol or cannabis legally, you must be of legal age. Check with your province or territory to confirm the legal age for where you live or are visiting.
- If you are travelling over the holidays, remember that it is illegal to transport cannabis across the Canadian border. It is also illegal to transport medications that are not prescribed to you across the Canadian border (this includes products containing CBD).
Read the full list here.