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Check out the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and and Addiction's resources on the 'Impacts of Covid-19 on Substance Use'

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Thanks CCSA for pulling these resources together! 

Please also share your resources with us in the comment section below.

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CCSA has developed a new resource, Alcohol and the Immune System: 4 Things You Should Know, to provide clear facts about alcohol and the immune system and what you can do to minimize risks to your health. It has never been more important to correct misinformation and highlight that alcohol does not improve health, kill viruses or improve our ability to ward off illness.

Key facts include:

  • Alcohol consumption contributes to a wide range of health problems and can weaken the body’s immune system.
  • High-risk alcohol use reduces the body’s ability to fight off illnesses.
  • Chronic high-risk alcohol use can weaken lung immune responses and increases the risk of developing respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Alcohol use does not stimulate the immune system or increase resistance to illness.

In addition to this resource, CCSA has released a suite of supporting resources:

These resources are available on CCSA’s COVID-19 resource section featuring resources on the impacts of COVID-19 and substance use from trusted sites and original publications from our experts.

If you have any questions about CCSA’s alcohol resources or want to know more about their work on alcohol, please email If you have any questions about our cannabis resources, please e-mail

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CCSA released an infographic highlighting 'Getting Back on the Road: Relaxing of COVID-19 Measures and Impaired Driving Risks'. This: One-page poster describing impaired driving risks as self-isolation restrictions are gradually lifted. These include the possibility that drivers have changed their habits of consuming alcohol and cannabis, or are taking new, potentially impairing, medications, which could affect returning to previous driving routines. Tips for reducing these risks are also provided.

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The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has developed a new resource, Methamphetamine, the Respiratory System and COVID-19summarizing what is currently known about the health risks associated with using methamphetamine generally and specifically during the pandemic. Topics covered include the effects of methamphetamine use on the health of the lungs and heart, its potential impact on the immune system and guidance for reducing harms.

Key highlights include:

  • Regular methamphetamine use may adversely affect the health of the heart and lungs.
  • Using methamphetamine may suppress the immune system, which can make you more vulnerable to infection and increase the severity of diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Using more than one substance regularly is common among people who use methamphetamine and can compound health problems.

To help get this important information out, especially to vulnerable populations, we have also developed an infographic, Methamphetamine, Cocaine and COVID-19 Health Risks.

If you have any questions about these resources or COVID-19 and substance use, please contact Dr Sarah Konefal, Research and Policy Analyst, at

Check out CCSA's new inforgraphic on COVID-19 and Impaired Driving Risks:

Here's the French version:

Addiction and substance use
Boredom and stress drives increased alcohol consumption during COVID-19: NANOS poll summary report NANOS. (May 2020). Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

This study describes the results from a survey of 1,009 Canadian adults between May 26 and 28, 2020. Participants were asked about their alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changes in alcohol consumption

  • Comparing alcohol consumption between April 2020 and May 2020, most respondents who were staying home reported no difference (77%), with 14% reporting less consumption, and 9% reporting more.
  • Comparing alcohol consumption to pre-COVID-19, most respondents who were staying home reported no difference (65%), with 21% reporting more consumption, and 15% reporting less consumption.
  • The most common reasons for drinking more were boredom, stress, loneliness, and a lack of a regular schedule.
  • The common reasons for drinking less were a lack of social gatherings/opportunities to socialize and trying to stay healthy in case of COVID-19 infection.


Alcohol consumption behaviours and feelings
Since the onset of COVID-19:

  • 14% of respondents felt guilty or remorseful after drinking.
  • 8% were not able to stop drinking at least once.
  • 6% were not able to remember the night before because of drinking at least once.
  • 3% failed to do what is normally expected of them because of drinking.

CCSA, in partnership with The Royal, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine has developed a poster about virtual care and how to access it.

The poster, Virtual Care for Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19, provides information about the importance of seeking mental health and substance use care early, as well as a list of virtual care options that are available to offer support. 

Le CCDUS, en partenariat avec le Royal, la Commission de la santé mentale du Canada, la Société canadienne de psychologie et la Société médicale canadienne sur l’addiction, a préparé une affiche sur les soins virtuels et la façon d’y accéder.

L’affiche, Des soins virtuels en santé mentale et en usage de substances pendant la COVID-19, souligne l’importance de demander des soins en santé mentale et en usage de substances dès le début et fournit une liste d’options de soins virtuels à consulter pour obtenir de l’aide. 

The COVID 19 pandemic is compounding the health crisis associated with opioids. Starting from well before the pandemic began, CCSA worked with direct service providers to develop a case study to highlight examples of expanded response options to opioid harms. The publication, Exploring Expanded Response Options to Opioid Harms: Case Studies from Four Canadian Clinics, is now available on CCSA’s website.

For this unique case study, CCSA interviewed four primary care providers currently offering responses to opioid harms that extend beyond those outlined in the guidelines of the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse. The study provides a compilation of their feedback and experiences. It is intended to drive conversations with policy makers, healthcare providers and first responders about the value of implementing expanded responses to opioid harms.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Recent legislative changes in Canada have increased the availability of diacetylmorphine and hydromorphone, two pharmaceutical treatment options for opioid use disorder.
  • Access to a greater range of pharmaceutical treatment options for opioid use can substantially increase the likelihood that clients remain in treatment, improve the quality of life for people who use opioids and help reduce deaths from a contaminated illicit opioid supply.
  • When it comes to response options, people with lived or living experience should be involved in decision making because they are positioned to anticipate unintended consequences and collaborate on effective solutions.

We encourage you to share this informative study with your networks. If you have any questions about our opioid resources or our work on opioids, please email


La pandémie de COVID-19 est venue aggraver la crise de santé associée aux opioïdes. Bien avant le début de la pandémie, le Centre canadien sur les dépendances et l’usage de substances (CCDUS) a collaboré avec des fournisseurs de services directs en vue de préparer des études de cas sur certaines interventions utilisées pour réduire les méfaits liés aux opioïdes. La publication, Options d’interventions élargies pour réduire les méfaits liés aux opioïdes : études de cas de quatre cliniques canadiennes, est maintenant en ligne sur le site du CCDUS.

Pour ces études de cas uniques en leur genre, CCDUS interviewé quatre prestataires de soins primaires qui proposent des interventions visant à réduire les méfaits des opioïdes autres que celles décrites dans les lignes directrices de l’Initiative canadienne de recherche en abus de substances. Le rapport produit compile leurs commentaires et expériences et facilitera la discussion sur le recours aux interventions élargies pour réduire les méfaits liés aux opioïdes avec des décideurs, des fournisseurs de soins de santé et des premiers répondants.

Quelques faits saillants du rapport :

  • Au Canada, de récents changements législatifs ont élargi l’accès à la diacétylmorphine et à l’hydromorphone, deux options pharmaceutiques dans le traitement du trouble lié à l’usage d’opioïdes.
  • L’accès à une gamme élargie d’options pharmaceutiques pour traiter la consommation d’opioïdes augmente considérablement la probabilité que les clients poursuivent leur traitement, améliore la qualité de vie des personnes consommatrices et fait diminuer le nombre de décès attribuables aux opioïdes illicites contaminés.
  • Les personnes ayant une expérience vécue passée ou présente doivent participer à la prise de décisions relatives aux interventions élargies, car elles sont bien placées pour anticiper les conséquences imprévues et aider à trouver des solutions efficaces.

Nous vous invitons à informer vos réseaux de la publication de ce rapport. Si vous avez des questions concernant nos ressources sur les opioïdes ou notre travail en lien avec les opioïdes, il suffit d’écrire à

CCSA youth allies webinar

This webinar, delivered in partnership with Alberta Health Services, explored the experiences of youth during COVID-19. Topics covered included the implications for substance use and mental health, mental health literacy, guidance for providing youth with mental health support and harm reduction messaging during the pandemic and beyond. This webinar was intended for parents, teachers, coaches, counsellors, healthcare professionals and anyone in a position to support and nurture open discussions with youth about substance use and mental health.

Watch the webinar recording hereDownload the transcriptDownload the French translation

Presenters also shared Harm Reduction and Substance Use Resources mentioned in their presentations:

Mental Health Resources

Mental Health and Substance Use Resources


Ressources sur la réduction des méfaits et l’usage de substances

Ressources sur la santé mentale

Ressources sur la santé mentale et l’usage de substances


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  • CCSA youth allies webinar
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Canadians are feeling the strain during the COVID-19 pandemic. While these uncertain times are proving difficult for us all, they are presenting greater challenges and risks to people with substance use disorders or mental illness. Up to one in two individuals with an existing substance use disorder reported having moderately severe to severe symptoms of depression since March 2020, according to a new Leger poll.

These findings are from a new series of bimonthly Leger polls commissioned by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to shed light on the ongoing impact of the pandemic on Canadians’ mental health and substance use.

Around one-third of those surveyed who drink alcohol reported drinking more since the start of the pandemic. This increase was greater among respondents with a history of substance use disorders, four in 10 to almost half of whom reported increased alcohol consumption during this period. 

Although substance use and mental health symptoms were high across the board, it is clear that people with a history of mental health or substance use concerns are being disproportionately impacted by stresses related to the pandemic.

Other key facts include:

  • Up to one in two respondents with current mental health symptoms who use cannabis reported increased use since March 2020, compared to two in five of the general population.

  • Over one in three respondents with current mental health symptoms who use alcohol reported consuming more since the start of the pandemic.

  • Moderate and severe anxiety symptoms were highest among respondents with lifetime substance use disorder and lifetime mental health diagnoses.

  • Respondents’ top stressors were financial strain (14%), social isolation (12%) and the health of family members (11%).

  • Just 24 per cent of respondents with problematic substance use and 22 per cent with current mental health symptoms have accessed treatment since March.

It is more important than ever that Canadians have timely access to a full range of quality services and supports that meet them where they are. In response to these findings, CCSA is highlighting some of its existing resources and supports:

We encourage you to share this publication with your networks. You can download the full survey data on the MHCC website and find a comprehensive list of resources on substance use and COVID-19 in CCSA’s online resource centre.

If you have any questions about the polling project or want to know more about our work with MHCC, please email


La pandémie de COVID-19 bouleverse la vie de tous les Canadiens. Si cette période d’incertitude s’avère difficile pour chacun d’entre nous, elle pose de grands défis et risques aux personnes qui vivent avec un trouble lié à l’usage de substances ou la maladie mentale. Jusqu’à une personne sur deux ayant un trouble lié à l’usage de substances rapporte avoir ressenti des symptômes modérément graves à graves de dépression depuis mars 2020, selon un nouveau sondage Léger.

Ces constats sont tirés d’une série de sondages bimestriels de Léger commandés par le Centre canadien sur les dépendances et l’usage de substances (CCDUS) et la Commission de la santé mentale du Canada (CSMC) pour mettre en lumière les effets à long terme de la pandémie sur la santé mentale et l’usage de substances des Canadiens.

Environ un tiers des répondants qui consomment de l’alcool rapportent un usage accru depuis le début de la pandémie. À noter que cette hausse était plus élevée chez les répondants ayant des antécédents de troubles liés à l’usage de substances (entre 40 et près de 50 pour cent d’entre eux disant avoir bu davantage pendant cette période).

Même si les symptômes de troubles de santé mentale et d’usage de substances sont fréquents dans toutes les populations, il est évident que les facteurs de stress liés à la pandémie ont une incidence disproportionnée sur les personnes avec des antécédents de troubles de santé mentale ou d’usage de substances.

Autres constats tirés du sondage

  • Jusqu’à un répondant sur deux ayant présentement des symptômes de troubles de santé mentale qui consomme du cannabis rapporte un usage accru depuis mars 2020, comparativement à deux répondants sur cinq dans la population générale.

  • Plus d’un répondant sur trois ayant présentement des symptômes de troubles de santé mentale qui consomme de l’alcool rapporte un usage accru depuis le début de la pandémie.

  • C’est chez les répondants ayant reçu au cours de leur vie un diagnostic de trouble lié à l’usage de substances ou de trouble de santé mentale que le taux de symptômes modérés et graves d’anxiété est le plus élevé.

  • Les principaux facteurs de stress des répondants : leur situation financière (14 %), l’isolement social (12 %) et l’état de santé de leurs proches (11 %).

  • Seuls 24 pour cent des répondants ayant un usage problématique de substances et 22 pour cent de ceux présentant des symptômes de troubles de santé mentale ont eu recours à des services de traitement depuis mars dernier.

Il est plus important que jamais que les Canadiens aient accès rapidement à toute une gamme de services et de mesures de soutien de qualité qui s’adaptent à la situation de chacun. Voici quelques documents et ressources du CCDUS qui pourraient vous intéresser, au vu de ces constats :

Nous vous invitons à transmettre cette publication à vos réseaux. Vous trouverez aussi une foule de ressources sur la COVID-19 et l’usage de substances dans le centre documentaire en ligne du CCDUS.

Si vous avez des questions concernant le projet de sondages ou si vous aimeriez en savoir plus sur notre travail avec la CSMC, il suffit d’écrire à

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