Friday, May 17, 2024

Safer Substance Use in the Summer

The weather is beautiful and outdoor parties, concerts, beach days and patio hangs beckon. It’s no secret weather plays a role in our overall wellness and mental health – and it also plays an important role in substance use health. 

Planning ahead and following the low risk guidelines for cannabis [PDF 810 KB] and alcohol [PDF 240 KB] are just a couple ways to reduce harm and be safer during this summer’s patio and party season.  

Other ways to reduce harm include: 

  • Planning for a safe ride home. 
  • Sticking to one substance. Mixing multiple substances, including prescription medications, can have harmful short- and long-term effects as well as increase the risk of overdose. 
  • Knowing the signs of an opioid overdose and carrying naloxone to temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose. 
  • Staying hydrated before, during and after drinking or using other substances. This will help to reduce the harmful after effects of substances such as alcohol. Try having at least one glass of water between every one to two alcoholic beverages. Increase this if drinking outdoors in hot, sunny conditions.  
  • Eating a nutritious meal prior to consuming substances and make sure to snack throughout the day. 
  • If you are hosting, have non-alcoholic options and snacks available. You are responsible for your guests, so take steps to ensure everyone has a safe way home.  
  • Avoiding consuming substances alone. If you do need to use alone, you can call the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) safer supervised consumption support 24/7. 
  • Letting a friend know what your plans are and where you will be in advance. Be sure to have a plan to contact help if you need it. 
  • Setting limits for yourself and sticking to them. 

For more harm reduction tips and additional information on specific substances visit the Carleton Mental Health and Wellness website. 

Try to be mindful of how often and how much you are drinking alcohol or using drugs. If you see a pattern of change in your use, are questioning or becoming concerned about your use, know you are not alone. There are many resources to support you including virtual peer support meetings and self guided workbooks to help you evaluate your relationship with cannabis [PDF 1.14 MB] and/or alcohol [PDF 1.24 MB].  

Your summer first-aid kit should include all the regular kit contents as well as things like sunscreen, bug spray and sunburn cream. Your summer party first-aid kit should also include naloxone, a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. 

Naloxone kits are available free of charge at some Ontario pharmacies – you can search locations near you.   

If you would like more information about substance use health or harm reduction please contact Dillon Brady, the Manager of Student Conduct and Harm Reduction with the Office of Student Affairs.  

Don’t forget the sunscreen, Ravens! 

Friday, May 17, 2024 in , , ,
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