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Saskatchewan Addictions Awareness

Are you misusing alcohol and/or drugs?

Are you dependent on alcohol and/or drugs?

Health care providers can help assess your habits and behaviours and work with you to lead a healthier life.

You can:

NOTE: The following is for information only and should not replace advice from an Addictions or Mental Health Counsellor, doctor or other health care provider.


1. National Addictions Awareness Week

2024 National Addictions Awareness Week is November 24 to 30. For more information, visit National Addictions Awareness Week.

Local events encourage individuals to learn more about alcohol and drug misuse, the potential harms associated with these activities, how to decrease stigma associated with misuse, and connect for help with mental health and addictions services.

Addressing mental health and addictions issues is complex, and it takes the efforts of many organizations, services and individuals working together to ensure that citizens with mental health and addictions issues have their needs met in the most appropriate and coordinated way. The Ministry of Health supports the recommendations of the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan.

Alcohol, Drug and Addictions Resources are available to assist individuals, families, service providers, physicians and communities support those with mental health and addictions issues.


2. Alcohol

Alcohol is sometimes used to relax, socialize and celebrate. If you decide to drink alcohol it's important to do so in a safe and responsible way. Problematic drinking patterns can lead to a range of social and health related harms.

The CAGE Screening Questionnaire

Ask yourself:

  • 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 in the morning (an EYE OPENER) to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

If you are male: Two "yes" responses suggests a current or past alcohol problem.

If you are female: One "yes" response suggests a current or past alcohol problem (Bradley et al. 1998).

A health care provider such as a physician and/or Addictions Counsellor may be able to assist. They can assess if you have a drinking problem and can help you determine ways to lead a healthy life. This could include suggestions that you cut back on your alcohol use or stop drinking alcohol.

Source: Ewing, J.A. (1984). Detecting alcoholism: The CAGE questionnaire, Journal of the American Medical Association, 252 (14), 1905-1907. Used with permission from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)


3. Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs can enhance your quality of life when taken as directed by your prescriber. Licensed prescribers have the expertise to determine what prescription medications are most effective and how to use them safely. When medications are misused/abused, they can be harmful.

There are a number of questions you can ask yourself to determine if you are using prescribed medication safely. The Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan has resources available to help you ask a pharmacist about your prescription.

Do you:

  • Inform your health care provider of all other medications, herbal products, and vitamins you are taking?
  • Know if there are any follow up checks or lab tests needed?
  • Follow your prescriber's directions?
  • Know when, how long and how often to take your medications?

Do you ask from your prescriber or pharmacist:

  • What to do if you forget to take your medication?
  • About the medication's side effects?
  • What to do if you mistakenly take too much?
  • How soon you will begin to feel better?
  • Which over-the-counter medications are not safe to use if you are taking a prescribed medication?

4. Cannabis

Cannabis refers to marijuana, hashish, and hash oil. Marijuana looks grey, green or brown and is the dried leaves and the flowering parts of the hemp plant, cannabis sativa. Cannabis is usually smoked in a vape, joint, pipe, or bong. In most instances cannabis is illegal and there are potential harms associated with its use.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health suggests that key signs of problematic substance abuse include:

  1. Harmful consequences, such as:
    • Injuries while under the influence;
    • Feelings of anxiety, irritability or depression;
    • Trouble thinking clearly;
    • Blackouts;
    • Problems with relationships;
    • Spending money on substances rather than on food, rent or other essentials;
    • Legal problems related to substance use;
    • Loss of hope, feelings or emptiness.
  2. Loss of control:
    • 'Using' when you didn't originally intend to;
    • Taking more of the drug than you intended to; or
    • Being unaware or in denial when your substance abuse is problematic.

Used with permission from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Cannabis/marijuana can affect people in different ways. Stay informed about the risks that cannabis can pose to your health and well-being. Seek support if you need it from a health care provider such as a physician and/or addictions counsellor.

More information is available from Health Canada.

Health Canada has supported the development of a resource known as Cannabis & Psychosis; they have created an additional online course for youth developed by youth known as Cannabis & Mental Health.

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