Most Canadians drink alcohol. They may drink alone, with friends, or at social events. They may drink with meals or to relax. Many drink because they like how it tastes and makes them feel.

Alcohol is a drug and can cause harm. Alcohol affects men, women, and young people in different ways.

Alcohol can harm the developing brain. The brain grows until about the age of 24.

Alcohol affects women more quickly. Their bodies take more time to break the alcohol down. Alcohol can hurt their health more quickly.

Drinking alcohol can cause a lot of health problems. Drinking can cause:

  • Infertility (unable to have a baby)
  • Cancer (e.g., breast, stomach)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Depression

Using alcohol may affect the health and well-being of future children and even grandchildren. This can happen through something called epigenetics.

When alcohol is used in pregnancy, it can hurt the unborn baby. This harm may not be seen until the child is in school. There may be lifelong problems with:

  • Social skills
  • Behaviour
  • Attention
  • Learning
  • Health (e.g., hearing, heart, kidneys, bones)