Flu Vaccine – Where to Get Your Shot

Flu vaccine is very effective in protecting you and your family from influenza this winter! Please get your free flu vaccine, as doses are now available at many locations across the region just in time for the upcoming influenza season.


Flu Vaccine Through Your Health Care Provider

Many health care providers are providing flu vaccine. Contact your doctor or provider about arranging to get one.


Flu Vaccine for Children Under 5 – Health Unit Clinic

If your child is under the age of five years and you do not have a family doctor, the Health Unit is offering flu vaccine clinics by appointment. At these clinics, your child will receive their flu vaccine with full COVID-19 prevention measures in place. Book your child’s flu vaccine appointment by calling the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507.


Flu Vaccine – Local Pharmacies

Many pharmacies in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes are providing flu vaccine. NEW: Children as young as two years of age can now get their flu shot at a participating pharmacy. This year, pharmacies are also providing the high-dose flu vaccine for seniors. Find a clinic at a pharmacy near you:


Haliburton County Pharmacies

Dorset

  • Pharmasave Dorset Village Pharmacy, 1103 Main St., Dorset, (705) 786-1911

Haliburton Village

  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 186 Highland St., Haliburton Village, (705) 457-5020
  • Loblaw Pharmacy, 5121 County Road 21, Haliburton Village, (705) 455-9779
  • Haliburton Highland Pharmacy, 211 Highland St., Haliburton Village, (705) 457-9669
  • Rexall, 224 Highland St., Haliburton Village, (705) 457-1112

Minden

  • Minden Pharmasave, 110 Bobcaygeon Rd., Minden, (705) 286-1220
  • Highland Remedy’s Rx Pharmacy, 33 Bobcaygeon Rd., Minden, (705) 286-1563

Wilberforce

  • Wilberforce Pharmacy, 2165 Loop Rd., Wilberforce, (705) 448-1222

Northumberland County Pharmacies

Bewdley

  • Bewdley Pharmacy, 7147 Lake St., Bewdley, (905) 797-1111

Brighton

  • Brighton Clinic Pharmacy, 46 Prince Edward St., Brighton, (613) 475-1818
  • Brighton Pharmachoice, 19 Elizabeth St., Brighton, (613) 475-9595
  • Drugstore Pharmacy, 155 Elizabeth St., Brighton, (613) 475-6197
  • Remedy’s Rx, 24 Main St., Brighton, (613) 475-1499
  • Rexall Pharma Plus, 1 Main St., Brighton, (613) 475-3294

Campbellford

  • MacLaren Pharmacy, 79 Bridge St. E., Campbellford, (705) 653-1960
  • Rx Pharmacy, 16 Grand Rd., Campbellford, (705) 653-1885
  • Trent Hills Pharmacy, 119 Isabella St., Campbellford, (705) 653-0404

Cobourg

  • A+ Compounding Pharmacy, 541 William St., Cobourg, (905) 373-1900
  • Cobourg DrugMart, 9 Elgin St., Cobourg, (905) 377-8600
  • Shoppers Drug Mart #1016, 270 Spring St., Cobourg, (905) 372-3333
  • York Super Pharmacy, 500 Division St., Cobourg, (905) 372-7171
  • Pharmasave, 995 Elgin St. W., Cobourg, (905) 372-5466
  • The Medicine Shoppe, 1060 Burnham St., Cobourg, (905) 377-0128
  • Pharmacy 101, 464 Division St., Cobourg, (905) 372-8808
  • Wal-mart Pharmacy, 73 Strathy Rd., Cobourg, (905) 377-0927
  • Cobourg Care Pharmacy, 609 William St, Cobourg, 289-252-2335
  • Metro Pharmacy, 1111 Elgin St. W., Cobourg (905) 377-0613

Colborne

  • Downey Pharmacy, 3 King St. E., Colborne, (905) 355-2825

Grafton

  • Grafton Health Care Pharmacy, 10739 County Road 2, Grafton, (905) 349-1120

Hastings

  • Johnston’s Pharmacy, 6 Front St. E., Hastings, (705) 696-3606

Port Hope

  • Port Hope Community Pharmacy, 50 Cavan St., Port Hope, (905) 885-6399
  • Shoppers Simply Pharmacy, 249 Ontario St., Port Hope, (905) 885-8740
  • Health Centre Pharmacy, 15 Henderson St., Port Hope, (905) 885-8600
  • Independent (Loblaw) Pharmacy, 20 Jocelyn St., Port Hope, (905) 885-5758
  • Community Care Pharmacy, 99 Toronto Rd., Port Hope, (905) 885-8400
  • Peter Street Pharmacy, 101 Peter St., Port Hope, (905) 885-8199
  • Port Hope Guardian Pharmacy, 181 Toronto Rd., Port Hope, (905) 885-1970

Warkworth

  • Warkworth Pharmacy, 26 Main St., Warkworth, (705) 924-2711

City of Kawartha Lakes Pharmacies

Bethany

  • Bethany Drug Mart, 1484 Hwy 7A, Bethany, (705) 340-7602

Bobcaygeon

  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 85 Bolton St., Bobcaygeon, (705) 738-4433
  • Village Gate Pharma Plus, 101 East St., Bobcaygeon, (705) 738-2372

Coboconk

  • Coby Pharmacy, 6662 Highway 35, Coboconk, 705-454-1900

Fenelon Falls

  • Pharmasave Fenelon Falls Pharmacy, 53 Colborne St., Fenelon Falls, (705) 887-2320
  • MacArthur Drugs (1984) Ltd., 21 Colborne St., Fenelon Falls, (705) 887-2041
  • Fenelon Falls Pharmacy, 53 Colborne St., Fenelon Falls, (705) 887-2320

Little Britain

  • Pharmasave Little Britain Pharmacy, 415 Eldon Rd., Little Britain, (705) 786-2000

Lindsay

  • Remedy’s Rx on Kent, 108 Kent St. W., Lindsay, (705) 324-0500
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 74 Kent St. W., Lindsay, (705) 324-7400
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 341-343 Kent. St. W., Lindsay, (705) 878-8981
  • Queen’s Square Pharmacy, 86 Russell St. W., Lindsay, (705) 320-8008
  • Kawartha Lakes Pharmacy, 55 Angeline St. N., Lindsay, (705) 324-2929
  • Victoria Drug Mart Ltd., 189 Kent St. W., Lindsay, (705) 328-1999
  • Loblaw Pharmacy, 400 Kent St. W., Lindsay, (705) 878-8351
  • Pharma Plus, 401 Kent St. W., Lindsay, (705) 324-6904
  • Integrated Care Pharmacy, 10 Moose Rd., Lindsay, (705) 878-8818
  • Rx Drug Mart, 51 Kent St. W., Lindsay, (705) 328-1505
  • Rexall Pharma Plus, 86 Angeline St. N., Lindsay, (705) 878-4700

Omemee

  • Countryside Pharmacy, 19 King St. E., Omemee (705) 799-5794

Oral Health

Dental Services

Good oral health plays an important role in our overall health.

Children and Teens

The Health Unit offers the following free preventive oral (dental) health services for eligible children and teens up to 17 years of age:

  • Fluoride varnish applications
  • Sealants
  • Scaling
Seniors

The new Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP) is a publicly-funded program geared to low-income seniors who do not have private dental coverage.

Find out more on our Seniors Dental Services page.

To learn more about our oral health clinics, call us toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 or email info@hkpr.on.ca

Seniors Dental Care Program

Dental Services for Low-Income Seniors

The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP) is a publicly-funded program geared to low-income seniors who do not have private dental coverage. The program can pay for the costs of certain dental care services.


Program Information
Who is Eligible for Program?

Seniors must be over the age of 65 years and live in Ontario. In order to qualify for the program:

  • A single senior can make up to $22,200 per year
  • For couples, the combined income to qualify for the OSDCP goes up to $37,100 per year.
What Services are Covered?

The Ontario Seniors Dental Care program will cover the costs of dental services such as: teeth cleaning, examinations, restorative services, X-rays, and oral surgery. There may also be partial coverage for dentures and other prosthodontic services.

How to Apply

You can apply for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program online or by mail. To download a copy of the application, click here.

Where to Access Services

There are a number of local locations where you can access services covered under the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. These include:

Financial Assistance for Dental Treatment

Programs for Children

Dental care is not covered under Ontario’s Health Insurance Program (OHIP). Many people do not have dental insurance, and cost is the most serious and common reason people do not see a dentist.

A FREE dental program is available for eligible children and youth 17 years of age and under through the Healthy Smiles Ontario program. No similar programs are available for adults.

Healthy Smiles Ontario is a FREE dental program for eligible children and youth who are 17 years of age and younger.

Children and youth age 17 years and younger are automatically eligible and enrolled into the Healthy Smile Ontario program when they or their family receive:

  • Ontario Works
  • Temporary Care Assistance
  • Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities
  • Ontario Disability Support Program

Children and youth whose families have other dental insurance may still be eligible for assistance. To find out more about Healthy Smiles Ontario, call the ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-844-296-6306.

Programs for Adults

There are a few low-cost dental care options for adults available in Port Hope, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County:

  • Port Hope Community Health Centre Dental Program – (905) 885-2626, ext. 208
  • Community Health Centre for the City of Kawartha Lakes Dental Program – (705) 879-4100, ext. 2, or 1-800-461-0327, ext. 180
  • Volunteer Dental Outreach for Haliburton County – (705) 457-3111

Reducing Harm When Using Drugs

Do you use substances or other drugs? Reduce your risk of harm to avoid overdoses and infections. Read on for more information.


On This Page:

Safety Tips if Using Drugs:
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Extra Precautions During COVID-19
  • If you are feeling sick, do not leave home. Ask a buddy to pick up supplies including naloxone from harm reduction sites or outreach workers. Arrange to have the supplies dropped off at your door, being sure to practise physical distancing 
  • Do not share supplies (cigarettes, joints, pipes, injecting equipment, containers for alcohol, utensils, and other supplies). Use your own mouthpiece and keep it only for YOUR use
  • Avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses, and other close contact
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before preparing, handling, or using drugs. Prepare your own drugs
  • If you cannot wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer, use alcohol-based hand wipes
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use tissues. Throw tissues away immediately and wash your hands
  • It’s strongly recommended you clean surfaces with soap and water, alcohol wipes, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide before preparing drugs
  • If you share a washroom with others, clean and disinfect surfaces like knobs, taps, and flushers. Use soap and water, bleach, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based wipes (70%) after every use. Do not mix different types of cleaning solutions
  • Buddy up if using drugs, but be safe! COVID-19 is passed by droplets, so you must stay 2 metres (six feet) – roughly the length of a hockey stick – from your buddy to avoid passing the virus
  • Using with a buddy is safer than using drugs alone, but remember to keep your physical distance! Buddies may be able to bring food, harm reduction supplies, medicine, and substances so that you can stay well. You can also be a buddy to others who need support. Check in on your buddies regularly and have them do the same for you
  • Carry naloxone and have an overdose plan. If necessary, you can perform chest compressions. Do not do rescue breathing due to COVID-19 concerns
  • If you must use drugs by yourself, call a buddy to have him/her regularly check in on you.
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What to Do if You See or Experience a Drug Overdose
  • If you see someone overdosing, call 9-1-1 and give the person naloxone.
  • The Good Samaritan Act offers legal protection for someone to help in an emergency. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects anyone on scene of an overdose from being charged for possessing/using drugs

If using a naloxone kit, refer to the Five Steps to Respond to an Opioid Overdose sheet. Take these extra precautions too:

  • Stimulate: try and rouse the person, encourage them to take breaths
  • If no response: call 9-1-1, give naloxone and perform chest compressions. DO NOT try doing rescue breathing
  • When using a naloxone kit: put gloves on, but do not use the face shield/breathing barrier for rescue breaths (not advised given COVID-19 situation)
  • After responding, properly remove gloves and throw them in the garbage. Wash/clean hands thoroughly
  • If chest compressions are needed, place a towel or a piece of clothing over the person’s nose and mouth to protect yourself from droplets.
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Why Harm Reduction Works
  • Harm reduction is a term that applies to any program, service or action that reduces the risk of injury and illness. If you have applied sunscreen or buckled up a seatbelt, you’ve embraced harm reduction.
  • When it comes to substance use, harm reduction provides strategies and ideas to reduce the consequences of drug use and other health risks. Harm reduction meets people where they’re at in their substance use and provides programs and services to help them enhance their skills and knowledge to live safer and healthier lives.
  • Harm reduction works! Learn more.
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Additional Resources
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Reducing Harm from Opioids – Report on Local Cases

Reduce the risk of opioid overdoses to save lives. Learn more about local overdoses cases and what you can do to address the ‘opidemic’ (opioid epidemic) in your community.


On This Page:

HKPR Opioid Overdose Report

The HKPR Opioid Overdose Report provides up-to-date information on opioid use in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County. The new opioid report is updated weekly and provides:

  • Suspected and confirmed overdoses, including statistics from local police services and paramedics.   
  • Historical data on opioid-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the region.
  • A link to an online submission form in which you can report overdose incidents you may have witnessed and other drug-related information. You can submit information without giving your name.

Why This Matters

The HKPR Opioid Overdose Report and online form provide a clearer picture of the opioid situation in the area. Being fully informed about the ‘opidemic’ can help local residents, community agencies and first responders better and more quickly respond to overdoses and save lives.

For example, if an increase in overdoses is detected, an alert could be issued informing the community about a toxic supply of drugs. Enhanced outreach could be done with people who use drugs warning them about the problem. Distribution of naloxone kits could also be enhanced in communities where it’s needed.

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What You Can Do to Prevent Overdoses
  • Regularly visit the HKPR Opioid Overdose Report for the latest local data on opioid overdoses, emergency department visits and deaths.
  • Report overdoses and drug related info on this site without giving your name.
  • Help out if you see someone who is overdosing. Call 9-1-1 and give the person naloxone (an emergency medicine that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose until the victim can get to hospital for treatment). Free naloxone kits are available at local pharmacies, Health Unit offices, and other locations. NOTE: The Good Samaritan Act protects anyone trying to help in an emergency from possible legal penalties. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act also protects people on the scene of an overdose from being charged for possessing or using drugs.
  • Change the conversation about opioid use. Set aside personal concerns and opinions. Treat people who use drugs with compassion and understanding.
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If You Use Drugs

Click here for more specifics on How to Reduce Harm When Using Drugs. You should also do the following:

  • Test a small amount of any drug before using.
  • Never use alone.
  • If you are alone, contact the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) virtual safe consumption at 1-888-668-NORS (6677), or practice the buddy system and call a friend.
  • Call 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose.
  • Keep a naloxone kit on hand. You can get a naloxone kit at most pharmacies and needle exchange sites.
  • Avoid mixing drugs.
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Additional Resources
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Sexual Health

Being sexually active is not risk-free. There is the risk of unplanned pregnancy and the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Sexual health nurses from the Health Unit recognize that taking risks is a normal part of human behaviour and we want to make sure our clients have all the information to make an informed decision about sex.

Whether you are sexually active now or thinking about having sex, the Health Unit’s sexual health nurses can help you make healthy sexual choices that are right for you.

For more information, visit our Sexual Health Clinics page or call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1205 to learn about sexual health clinic locations or to make an appointment.

Exemptions from Immunizations

Parents may complete a Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit form for their child if they are religiously or philosophically opposed to immunization.

The Statement of Medical Exemption is a form for children who require an immunization exemption for medical reasons (i.e. prior immunity or medical contraindication). A Physician or Nurse Practitioner must complete the form.

To learn more about getting exemptions, please visit Vaccines for Children at School (Ministry of Health website) for step-by-step instructions. If you have any additional questions, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507.

Completed exemption forms must be returned to your local Health Unit office.


Lyme Disease

It’s time for a ‘tick talk’ – a reminder to be on the lookout for blacklegged (or deer) ticks that may spread Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a serious illness that, left untreated, can lead to recurring arthritis, neurological problems, numbness or paralysis.

Some blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes Lyme disease. If this type of tick attaches to you, it will bite and feed on your blood. The longer an infected tick feeds, the greater your risk of getting Lyme disease.

Blacklegged ticks are present across Ontario, as is shown on the latest 2021 Lyme Disease Risk Map from Public Health Ontario. Wherever you live, work or play, reduce your risk of Lyme disease by avoiding blacklegged ticks that can spread illness.

Reduce Your Risk:

Fight Lyme disease by avoiding blacklegged ticks that can spread illness:

  • Lyme Disease Prevention Tips – Ontario Ministry of Health
  • Watch this short Health Unit video below on ways to prevent Lyme disease by avoiding blacklegged ticks that can spread illness.
Removing a Tick:

Testing for Ticks

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is eTick-logo.jpg
eTick website
  • The Health Unit no longer accepts blacklegged ticks for testing, but you can still identify ticks by using the free eTick website. To use the site:
    • Simply submit a photo of the tick you encounter
    • You’ll be notified within 48 hours if the tick is the type that may spread Lyme disease
    • You can then determine what additional care you need, including whether to see a health care provider.
  • If you would like to have a tick tested for the presence of Lyme Disease, there are several private labs that can test the tick for a fee:
When to Seek Medical Attention:
  • You experience symptoms of Lyme disease.
  • A blacklegged tick is attached for 24+ hours or is engorged (meaning it’s fed for some time)

For more assistance, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

Additional Resources

Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to improve your health – and that of your loved ones. It’s never too late to quit. As soon as you stop smoking, you start to experience health benefits.

Need support to quit smoking? Here are resources to help:

Additional Resources

Workplace Health

Make It Part of Your Business

Most of us spend a large part of our day at work. Creating a healthy workplace where the culture, climate, practices and policies support employee well-being is worth the effort. It pays off in many ways:

  • Higher productivity
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Better staff morale
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved physical and mental health

Put Workplace Health to Work For You

Check out these resources to support a healthy workplace:

Birth Control and Breastfeeding

There are many birth control methods that are reliable and do not affect breastfeeding. It’s important to research which method is right for you and your partner.

Only you will know when you are ready to have sex again after the birth of your baby. Generally, you can have sex again when you have stopped bleeding and have recovered from the birth.

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider and make sure you have chosen a type of birth control that is safe for breastfeeding moms.

Methods:

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

  • Short-term birth control (first six months after deliver)
  • Positive effect on breastfeeding
  • 98% reliable if used correctly. Key is to breastfeed often, both day and night, to delay the return of your period and suppress your fertility.
  • To use this method, must answer “no” to all three questions. If you answer “yes” to one question, you should use another birth control method.
    • Has your period returned? (a period is two days of bleeding in a row that occurs eight weeks after the date of delivery)
    • Are there long periods without breastfeeding (longer than four hours in the day and six hours at night)?
    • Is your baby more than six months old?

Barrier Method

  • No effect on breastfeeding
  • Condoms (male and female) are widely available, inexpensive and you do not need a prescription.
  • Most reliable if used with spermicides. Spermicides need to be inserted into the vagina ahead of time

Intrauterine Devices

  • No adverse effects on breastmilk supply if supply is well established
  • Need to be seen by a health care provider for access to Intrauterine Device and Intrauterine System

Hormonal Method

  • Taking hormones can decrease milk supply, and newborns may have difficulty removing hormones from their system
  • The pill, patch and Estrogen and Progestin vagina ring are only available with a prescription from a health care provider

Natural Family Planning

  • There is no impact on breastfeeding
  • The goal of natural family planning is to learn when you are ovulating and avoid sex during fertile times

To learn more about safe birth control methods and breastfeeding, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5003.

What are the Harms of Cannabis Use?

What are the immediate or short-term harms of cannabis use?

Cannabis use can cause unpleasant, unwanted or negative effects on your brain and body, including:

  • confusion and difficulty concentrating,
  • anxiety, fear or panic,
  • psychotic episodes of paranoia, delusions or hallucinations,
  • poor co-ordination and slow reaction time,
  • increased risk of injury (e.g., motor vehicle collision, falls),
  • sleepiness,
  • coughing, wheezing,
  • shortness of breath,
  • decreased blood pressure (risk of fainting or passing out),
  • increased heart rate (increased risk of heart attack), or
  • hyperemesis syndrome (uncontrollable vomiting).
What are the harms of cannabis use if I use it over a long period of time?

Long-term effects develop over time with daily or near-daily use over weeks, months or years. The effects can last from several days to months or longer after you stop using cannabis. For those who begin consuming cannabis at a young age (i.e. under 25) or use often, the following effects may become permanent:

  • addiction (Cannabis Use Disorder),
  • depression or anxiety,
  • schizophrenia or other psychosis,
  • harms to memory and concentration,
  • lowering of intelligence or IQ,
  • negative effects on your ability to think and make decisions,
  • chronic (long-term) cough (when smoked),
  • increased mucus buildup in the throat (when smoked),
  • bronchitis (when smoked), or
  • lung infections (when smoked).

Cannabis: Safer Use

Just as with alcohol or tobacco, cannabis is not a harmless substance. The only way to avoid any harm is by not using cannabis. If you choose to use cannabis, it’s important for you to be informed of things you can do to lower your risk of harm.

What are Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines?

Ways you can lower your risk of harm from cannabis use, including:

  • delay cannabis use until later in life,
  • limit how often you use cannabis (don’t use it more than once per week or less),
  • know what you’re using – choose low dose THC products,
  • avoid smoking burnt cannabis,
  • do not use before driving or operating machinery,
  • do not use if pregnant, and
  • do not use if you’re at risk for mental health problems or addiction.
  • avoid “deep inhalation” or “breath-holding” that increases the amount of toxins absorbed by your lungs and body.

Read the complete Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines

Cannabis-Impaired Driving

Driving after using cannabis is illegal and it more than doubles your chance of motor vehicle collision. It is just as bad as drinking and driving. If you choose to use cannabis, be smart about it and don’t drive high. Be informed of how it impairs your driving ability to protect yourself and other drivers on the road.

Plan to help everyone get home safely:

  • Have a designated driver.
  • Call a friend or loved one.
  • Call a cab or ride-share.
  • Use public transit.
  • Stay the night

How does cannabis impair my driving ability?

The THC in cannabis affects your driving ability in the following ways that make it dangerous to drive:

  • impairs concentration and short-term memory,
  • distorts perception of time and space,
  • slows reaction time,
  • reduces your co-ordination of body movements,
  • lowers the ability to track moving objects (such as other cars or bicyclists),
  • lowers the ability to respond to more than one thing at a time (such as watching your speed, lane position, distance between you and another car, pedestrians or bicyclists – all at the same time),
  • leads you to weave in and out of lanes, and
  • makes it difficult to keep a constant speed.

For more information, visit Don’t Drive High

How long should I wait, after using cannabis, to drive?

You should wait at least six hours after using cannabis to drive, and it’s best to not use it at all if you plan on driving or operating machinery.

It can be more difficult with cannabis than with other substances like alcohol to determine when you are impaired and when you are safe to drive. Depending on the form of cannabis used, the THC concentration, and how it affects you, the effects could be more immediate or delayed and can last for a shorter or longer time.

You can also lower your risk of impairment by using lower THC concentration cannabis, not using it every day, and not using it with alcohol.

Can I be charged with impaired driving if I get caught?

Driving after using cannabis is illegal. Police can legally request a driver to undergo testing to confirm impairment by drugs and you will be subject to serious penalties. It is taken as seriously as driving impaired by alcohol.

For a full description of Ontario’s new laws for drug-impaired driving, including zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers, and associated penalties, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation

What are the new laws for drug-impaired driving, starting July 1, 2018?

Young, Novice and Commercial Drivers – Drivers age 21 or under, novice drivers (drivers who have a G1, G2, M1, M2, M2-L or M2-M licence), and commercial drivers are prohibited from having any cannabis or other drugs in their system and face penalties and potential criminal charges.

That means that Ontario has a zero tolerance approach to both alcohol and drugs for these drivers.

All Drivers – If police find that you have cannabis or alcohol in your system above legal limits, or that you are impaired by any substance including illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, you will face severe consequences and potential criminal charges.

Medical Cannabis Users – If a police officer is satisfied that you are legally authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes, you will not be subject to Ontario’s zero tolerance drug requirements for young, novice and commercial drivers. However, you can still face penalties and/or criminal charges if a police officer finds that your ability to drive is impaired. Even if you have been authorized to use cannabis or another drug by a health care professional, it is your responsibility to ensure you are not impaired while driving.

For a full description of Ontario’s new laws for drug-impaired driving and penalties, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Cannabis: Edibles

Are there ways to lower my risk of harm with edible products?

Here are some things you should know:

  • The effects of cannabis from eating an edible product can be delayed up to 2 hours. If you don’t wait 2 hours to feel the effects, you may consume larger amounts and have worse impairment when you finally do feel it.
  • When ingesting edibles, the “start low and go slow” caution still applies as it will be hard to know how it will affect you.
  • Keep all cannabis products in child-resistant packaging and in a locked area. Keep it out of sight and reach from children.
  • Cannabis in food products are very dangerous to children. Children may mistake these products for regular food such as brownies and cookies and eat them.
  • If a child eats cannabis they can become very sick. Get medical help right away.
  • If your child ingests cannabis, call the Ontario Poison Centre (1-800-268-9017) or 911 immediately.

Cannabis FAQs

Is cannabis addictive?

People can become addicted to cannabis. About 1 in 6 teenagers and 1 in 11 adults who use cannabis will develop an addiction.
Regular, often (daily) and heavy cannabis use can lead to a Cannabis Use Disorder, physical dependency, and addiction. The THC in cannabis causes an increase in levels of dopamine, the pleasure chemical in the brain, which can motivate people to keep using it. When you stop using cannabis, you can also get withdrawal symptoms that make you use it again for relief, such as:

  • irritability,
  • trouble sleeping,
  • dysphoria – state of generalized unhappiness, restlessness, dissatisfaction, or frustration,
  • depression or anxiety,
  • cravings, or
  • changes in appetite and weight loss.

Can you overdose on cannabis?

While overdose of cannabis does not happen in the same way as things like opioids, there is still a risk of consuming too much and having a bad reaction such as high levels of anxiety, fear or panic, and psychotic episodes of paranoia, delusions or hallucinations. Hyperemesis syndrome may also occur, where consuming cannabis triggers uncontrollable vomiting.

Overdose or poisoning from other substances: When cannabis is purchased from an unregulated supplier (i.e., off the street or black market), you have no guarantee of what you are getting and the cannabis could contain other substances such as opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, or household chemicals.

For the reasons above, you should always “start low and go slow” with your cannabis consumption, and always purchase from a licensed retailer.

Overdose in children: If cannabis is stored in areas that can be accessed by children, the possibility of them either intentionally or unintentionally consuming the product is increased. Similar to alcohol, it is important that products that can cause impairment, overdose, or poisoning are stored out of reach from children.

If you or someone else is having a bad reaction to cannabis, or a child ingests cannabis, call the Ontario Poison Centre (1-800-268-9017) or 911 immediately.


Is cannabis safer than tobacco?

Cannabis smoke has many similar carcinogens, toxins, and irritants that are found in tobacco smoke and known to cause cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases like bronchitis.

Cannabis is not harmless just because it’s more “natural”. Any substance, whether it’s tobacco, alcohol, or cannabis, will have effects on your mental and physical health, so it’s important to know what those are.


What are the harms of second-hand cannabis smoke?

Although the risks from exposure to second-hand cannabis smoke are still being studied, cannabis smoke has many similar carcinogens, toxins, and irritants that are found in tobacco smoke and known to cause cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases like bronchitis. For this reason, exposure to cannabis smoke should be avoided. Cannabis should not be smoked indoors and should be kept away from children.


Are there certain activities I should avoid while using cannabis?

Do NOT use cannabis while:

  • driving or operating heavy or hazardous machinery,
  • being a caretaker for children,
  • during situations where you need to make important decisions, or
  • doing any other activity that requires full concentration and ability to react quickly (e.g., driving).

Should I avoid cannabis use if I have a personal or family history of mental illness or substance use disorder?

Individuals with a personal or family history of mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia), or problems with drug use should avoid cannabis because these conditions can be brought on or made worse with cannabis use.


What is the harm of using cannabis with alcohol or tobacco?

Mixing alcohol with cannabis increases the level of impairment you have, increasing your risk of harm.

Smoking tobacco and cannabis together (e.g. adding tobacco to cannabis joints) may increase your risk of lung or other cancers and addiction.

Sexual Health

Thinking about having sex, or already sexually active? Either way, it’s important you know the potential risks and take precautions. By making healthy choices, you can avoid unplanned pregnancies, the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and other problems.

Sexual Health Nurses with the Health Unit can help you make informed choices that are right for you. Sexual Health Nurses provide:

  • Sexual Health Clinics in your area
  • Free STI testing and treatment
  • Free condoms and low-cost birth control
  • Free pregnancy testing and much more

To speak to a Sexual Health Nurse, or make an appointment at a Sexual Health Clinic, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1205

Sexual Health Ontario

Sex and You

HPV

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common type of sexually transmitted infection in Canada. Approximately 80 per cent of Canadians will get HPV at least once in their lives, with people younger than 25 years of age having the most infections.

HPV is spread through various kinds of sexual activity (vaginal, anal, or oral). It can also be spread by skin-to-skin contact with an infected partner. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms.

HPV causes:

  • 90 per cent of all genital warts
  • 70 per cent of all cancers of the cervix
  • other cancers of the vagina, and vulva

HPV vaccination is 98 per cent effective in stopping the four types of HPV infection that can cause:

  • precancerous changes and cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina
  • genital and anal warts
Protect Yourself!

The Health Unit can provide HPV immunization to eligible individuals, including all boys and girls in Grade 7. To see if you or your child can receive the HPV vaccine, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507.

HPVinfo.ca – Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

Getting the HPV vaccine – Ministry of Health

My Health

Health is more than the absence of illness or disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.

The HKPR District Health Unit offers programs, services and information to help you and your family become or remain healthy. To learn more, visit any of the links available or call our office at 1-866-888-4577.

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