Sudbury District Nurse Practitioner Clinics

Alcohol Use and Safe Drinking

eggnogThe holiday season is upon us, and as celebrations start to kick off, it is important to remember to keep yourself feeling well, healthy and safe.

As we all know exercise, good sleep, and a healthy diet are key components to living a healthy lifestyle. Another major factor is to monitor your alcohol consumption if you are going to be drinking this holiday season. Having a couple drinks during the holiday season does not mean that someone has a problem with alcohol. However, if you are unable to control how much or how often you are drinking, it might be time to seek help.  

Canada has developed guidelines to help us monitor alcohol consumption and to reduce adverse health risks. These include a maximum drinks per day/week for women and men.

The following are guidelines  are from health Canada @

The Daily and weekly limits for men and women to reduce long-term health risks such as chronic diseases, including cancer are:

  • women: 0-2 drinks a day, up to 10 drinks a week
  • men: 0-3 drinks a day, up to 15 drinks a week

In order to reduce risk for injury and harm short term guidelines are;

  • women: no more than 3 drinks on any single occasion
  • men: no more than 4 drinks on any single occasion

1 drink standard equals:

  • 341 ml (12 oz.) bottle of 5% beer, cider, or cooler
  • 142 ml (5 oz.) glass of 12% wine
  • 43 ml (1.5 oz.) serving of 40% distilled alcohol (e.g., rye, gin, rum)

It is also important to know when not to consume alcohol and  some examples would include:

  • driving any vehicle or using machinery or tools
  • pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • doing any kind of dangerous physical activity
  • living with mental or physical health problems or alcohol dependence
  • responsible for other people’s safety
  • making important decisions
  • using medication or other drugs that interact with alcohol

Sometimes we are not aware that our alcohol intake is causing any harm to us and a simple way to partially assess this is the complete the CAGE questionnaire:

“CAGE” is an acronym formed from the italicized words in the questionnaire (cut-annoyed-guilty-eye).

The CAGE is a simple screening questionnaire to id potential problems with alcohol.

Two “yes” responses is considered positive for males; one “yes” is considered positive for females.

Please note: This test will only be scored correctly if you answer each one of the questions.

Please check the one response to each item that best describes how you have felt and behaved over your whole life.

Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?



Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?



Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?



Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover (eye-opener)?



If you feel like you are not able to control your alcohol intake and/or alcohol is affecting your work, relationships or ability to take care of yourself then there are a number of resources that you can access, for example;

*Primary care Provider

*Visit Alcoholics Anonymous

*Contact Monarch Recovery Services

*Contact your local hospital addictions program, in Sudbury that is Health Sciences North Mental Health and Addictions Program

*If you feel you are in urgent need of medical care please visit your local Emergency Department

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