Have Fun AND Stay Safe This Holiday Season!



A message from Dr. Kelsey Louie, FNHA Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer

With the holiday season upon us, we may find ourselves being invited to join family or community festivities, or perhaps work department / office parties and other social gatherings. December is often a time to gather in celebration or renew connections and enjoy one another's company. While we certainly hope you have fun, we want to remind you to enjoy your time responsibly and keep safe by planning ahead. This includes arranging for a designated driver if you plan to consume alcohol or cannabis, or reaching out to a trusted friend or family member.

We also want to remind everyone that the toxic drug crisis is still a public health emergency in BC. If you know anyone who is using drugs, please remind them that the current unregulated street supply of drugs is unpredictable, unsafe and potentially lethal. To learn more about harm-reduction services related to the toxic drug supply, visit the link here.  

Holiday Drinking / Substance-Use Safety Tips

Based on the tremendous participation in and feedback from our recent Sober for October campaign, I'm aware many have already either continued their abstinence journey or reduced their alcohol intake. Others are thinking about it and perhaps planning to set wellness goals around this as New Year's resolutions. Making a commitment to reach a goal can be exciting, if uncomfortable. I encourage you to do some planning focused on wellness goals – and to celebrate your successes as we go into a new year. To help you do that, I would like to reiterate some of the information we shared during “Sober for October."

  • Create safe space for all – sometimes we peer pressure one another inadvertently, without meaning to do so. It is important to respect one another's personal decisions!
  • If you are hosting or organizing an event, ensure alternative beverage selections are available. There are so many great “mocktails" or non-alcoholic beverage options!
  • Make sure to have a “mocktail" in your hand at all times so you don't have well-meaning hosts foisting drinks upon you. 
  • Look out for those who are drinking. Encourage responsible drinking and intervene if someone appears to be impaired.
  • Create accountability. Let people know you are planning to keep your holiday drinking to a minimum / not drink at all so they will support or even join you!
  • If you do drink alcohol, don't do so on an empty stomach; fill up with some food and water before and during alcohol consumption to lessen the impact of alcohol.
  • If you do drink alcohol, it is best to drink slowly and steadily: sip your drink, or skip a drink, i.e., drink a glass of water in between drinks.
  • It is also important to drink in moderation and know your limits / personal alcohol tolerance so that you do not become impaired or sick, or unable to maintain control.
  • Remember that the combination of alcohol and drugs (including prescription drugs) will impair your judgement and delay your reaction time.
  • If you plan to drink alcohol and/or use cannabis, it is essential that you arrange for a designated driver or have alternative transportation. Driving/operating any kind of vehicle while under the influence of any substance is of course dangerous and can lead to terrible accidents and/or criminal charges.

On behalf of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, I would like to extend our best wishes to everyone over the holiday season and into the New Year. Have fun and stay safe!

Information and Resources

Especially for youth and young adults: http://www.fnha.ca/about/news-and-events/news/tips-for-safer-partying-in-the-holiday-season-keeping-ourselves-and-our-friends-safer

To learn more about alcohol harm-reduction services and information, visit the link here. For information on treatment centres, visit the link here.​

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