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Follow new guidelines if choosing to drink this holiday, Health Unit urges

SIMCOE, DECEMBER 10, 2012 – Whether at workplace Christmas parties, family dinners or gatherings at friend’s houses, many people this holiday season will find themselves in situations where alcohol is available. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit wants to inform residents who choose to drink about new guidelines that have been designed to reduce the immediate and long-term harm associated with alcohol.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse’s new guidelines, women should consume no more than 10 standard drinks a week, with no more than two drinks a day most days and no more than three drinks on any one special occasion. Men should consume no more than 15 standard drinks a week, with no more than three drinks a day most days and no more than four drinks on any one special occasion. A standard drink is five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of liquor such as rye, vodka or rum.

“The guidelines were developed using the most recent scientific research and evidence,” explained Laura Tousaw, Health Promoter with the Substance Misuse Prevention program at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “An important point to remember, which is included in the guidelines, is that there is also a list of situations when zero alcohol is the limit.”

The guidelines note that no alcohol should be consumed in the following situations: when pregnant or planning to become pregnant, driving a vehicle or using machinery and tools, living with alcohol dependence, taking medications or other drugs that interact with alcohol, doing any kind of dangerous physical activity, living with a mental or physical health problem, making important decisions and when you are responsible for the safety of others.

“The guidelines are meant to set maximum limits on alcohol consumption, not act as targets,” added Tousaw. “It’s important to remember that zero drinks produce the lowest risk of any alcohol-related problem.”

The most recent data regarding alcohol consumption in Haldimand and Norfolk reveals that 52 percent of adults who currently drink are at high risk for alcohol-related health problems. Additionally, 25 percent of adults report consuming five or more drinks on one occasion, 12 or more times a year.

The Health Unit is also reminding those who chose to drink this holiday season to drink slowly, eat before and while you are drinking and to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, having at least one non-alcoholic drink between every alcoholic drink.

Additional information about Canada’s new Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines is available at

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Media contact:
Laura Tousaw
Health Promoter, Substance Misuse Prevention
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3274 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623
[email protected]