Substance Awareness

At the University of Alberta, we prioritize substance use awareness and prevention to promote the well-being of all members of our community. We are committed to fostering responsible and healthy behavior regarding substance use through a range of programs and initiatives. Our community members can access various resources and support services to make informed decisions and avoid the potential negative impacts of substance abuse.

Substance Use Health + Harm Reduction

Alcohol and substances are viewed and discussed through a harm reduction lens. This approach aims to reduce the negative consequences of consuming alcohol and substances by providing information and protective strategies to lower the risk of harm. Knowing information about alcohol and substances, the risks, and how it affects us or those around us is part of creating a supportive campus community.

Need Help Now?

Urgent support resources for students at risk.

If there is an immediate risk of harm to persons or property, call 911

Definition of Alcohol + Substances

A drug is a substance that alters someone’s mental, emotional, or physical state. Knowing information about alcohol and substances and its effects, allows you to make informed decisions for yourself. Alcohol and/or drug use become problematic when they cause harm to yourself or others.

Spectrum of Use: Alcohol + Substances

Alcohol and substance use exists on a spectrum from beneficial use, casual/low-risk use, high risk/harmful use, and chronic dependence/substance use disorder. Viewing alcohol and substance use in a spectrum allows us to better meet people where they’re at, and provide suitable health information and harm reduction.

Alberta Health Services Spectrum of Use Information

Signs of High-Risk Substance Use

How can you tell if your substance use is high-risk? Some signs of high-risk substance use include:

  • Inability to stop, even though your use is negatively affecting your life
  • Developing a tolerance
  • Using more of the substance to get "high" or become intoxicated
  • Having cravings or strong urges for the substance
  • Sickness when trying to stop, sometimes known as withdrawal
  • Negative impact on relationships with family, friends, significant others, work etc.

Finding Support

Wellness Supports

Ph: 780-492-1619

University Health Centre

Ph: 780-492-2612

Counselling + Clinical Services

Ph: 780-492-5205

Harm Reduction Information

Information about specific substances

Overdose Prevention + Response

Call 911 immediately and then call University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS: 780-492-5050) when it is safe to do so.

Stay on the line with 911 and stay with the person (e.g., do not leave to fetch a Naloxone kit). While you await an emergency response, ensure your own safety and take direction from the 911 call-taker. This may include trying to wake the person, checking for an open airway, safely providing rescue breaths or chest compressions, or placing them in a recovery position. 911 will dispatch emergency responders immediately to provide nasal NARCAN and first aid. Emergency services will take over upon their arrival.

Find Naloxone Kits

The Naloxone Kits are available at the University Health Centre Pharmacy and other Edmonton pharmacy locations.

Individuals seeking Naloxone are encouraged to contact their local pharmacy to confirm availability. Visits are confidential with any information collected according to the guidelines of the Health Information Act (HIA).

Remember that if you are witness to an overdose, call 911 immediately.

Cannabis Use at the University of Alberta

Cannabis and cannabis oil are legal for recreational use in Canada, including Alberta. Learn more about University of Alberta regulations regarding the consumption of cannabis.

Cannabis Use on Campus

Student Recovery Community Initiative

The U of A Student Recovery Community supports students in recovery or contemplating it, helping them transition from surviving to thriving at university.

Student Recovery Community