Category Archives: Resources

Resource: Women and Cannabis

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This resource was developed through the support of the Education and Training Council, Alberta FASD Cross Ministry Committee and reviewed by experts from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and the Canada FASD Research Network. It was updated September 2017 with new research and uses the scientific name, cannabis, rather than the common name, marijuana.

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View French PDF 

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This is a resource for service providers and program planners. The info sheet describes what we know so far about sex- and gender-based factors related to cannabis use.

It is one of several resources developed as part of the Trauma/Gender/Substance Use (TGS) project made possible by funding from Health Canada. The views in this resource do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada. Revised February 2018.

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Teaching Tuesday: Dr. Bruce Perry, Sensitization and Tolerance

Sensitization and Tolerance: An introduction to the crucial role that patterns of stress response system activation play in pathology and healing.

Raise your Mocktails for Dry9 and Best Bar None


One of the many ways bars provide responsible liquor service – and also great options for guests – is to provide non-alcoholic drink options (mocktails) on their menus.

Many bars have discovered that offering innovative, creative and tasty mocktails provides an option for many people who do not (or choose not to) drink alcohol.

Whether you’re the designated driver, expecting a tiny person or just don’t enjoy drinking a fun alternative is mocktails. Speaking of moms-to-be, have you heard of the Dry9 campaign?

Dry9 is a new initiative through AGLC’s DrinkSense program providing support and encouragement for those choosing to make the healthy and safe decision to not drink any alcohol during pregnancy.

One of the many ways to provide encouragement (and some great non-alcoholic drink ideas) is through the recently-launched Dry9  Mocktail Contest. Albertans have been asked to submit their favourite non-alcoholic drink recipes to add to our DrinkSense website along with some classic recipes already posted.

The contest is open for submissions until April 30, 2018.

We asked a few of the Best Bar None accredited bars to share some of their favourite mocktails to see what the professionals are mixing.

Check out these tasty recipes mixed by the professionals at two of our BBN-accredited partners.

Berry Citrus Smash
Courtesy of The Den at the University of Calgary



  • Muddle mixed berries (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry
  • Add ice
  • Top with Orange Cream Soda

The Ginger Ale
Courtesy of Cartago Yeg



  • Ginger Bergamont Syrup
  • Lime
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Soda

Retrieved from

Catalyst – February 2018 – Food for thought: A youth perspective on recovery-oriented practice

The MHCC Youth Council creates a video and discussion guide for service providers

The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) Youth Council has created a video and discussion guide to help service providers understand the needs of youth when it comes to recovery-oriented practice.

Released this February, Food for thought: A youth perspective on recovery-oriented practice breaks down what youth see as some of the core principles of recovery-oriented mental health and addiction services. Using the metaphor of a restaurant interaction between a server and a patron, it provides a light-hearted demonstration of the key concepts of recovery-oriented practice.

Recovery can be a difficult concept to grasp, admits Don Mahleka, a Youth Council member actively involved in developing the video.  It refers to living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life, even when a person may be experiencing ongoing symptoms of a mental health problem or illness.

Mahleka says the video speaks to the kind of considerations that young people would like to be extended. “Everybody can relate to restaurant service—being served hot sauce when you didn’t ask for it, or given food with a bug in it.”

In a recovery-oriented system, service providers engage in shared decision-making, offering a range of services and supports to fully meet a person’s goals and needs.

The vignettes in the video are likened to experiences of inadequate mental health service.

“The message young people are giving here is pretty clear,” says Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the MHCC. “Don’t order my meal, season it, tell me when I’m finished and invite me not to come back!”

Mahleka agrees. “As much as the metaphor can’t unpack everything, the video clips show the disappointments and frustrations young people sometimes experience that others may not see,” explains Mahleka.

The video is intended to provoke thoughtful discussion among services providers and the accompanying discussion guide, with its key messages and reflective questions, can be used in a variety of settings including team meetings, staff orientations, in conversations with young people or more broadly with youth advisory groups.

This new resource is inspired by the MHCC’s Guidelines for Recovery-Oriented Practice, originally released in 2015.  Densely packed with information, this guide seeks to build common understanding, shared language and knowledge of recovery policies, programs and practices, and provide a tool to help transform practice, culture, and service delivery. It also emphasizes that recovery-oriented mental health services must be responsive and adapted across the lifespan, including for youth.

The MHCC Youth Council was a natural fit to expand on recovery from the youth perspective. It is made up of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who have lived experience with mental health problems or illnesses, either personally or through a family member or friend.

Mahleka notes this project was a great example of youth engagement. The process involved youth from conception to implementation, amplifying their input and suggestions to get an authentic product reflective of diverse youth backgrounds and intersectional youth identities.

Laughing at food as a recurring theme, Mahleka likens the Youth Council’s involvement to that of baking a cake. “We weren’t just handed a cake to be iced. We were asked what type we’d like to make, invited to flesh out the recipe and bake it together. Clearly the Youth Council loves food.”

Learn more about the MHCC’s recovery initiatives.

CanFASD: FASD Prevention Resources



The Canada Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Research Network (CanFASD) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research network, with collaborators, researchers and partners across the nation. It is Canada’s first comprehensive national Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) research network. It started as an alliance of seven jurisdictions and operated for seven years as the Canada Northwest FASD Research Network.

In their work, CanFASD has pulled together a comprehensive list of FASD prevention resources and publications. These include:

Publications & Resources

Parent-Child Assistance Program in Alberta First Nation Communities Evaluation Report — The evaluation was undertaken to provide key information about how the Parent–Child Assistance Program (PCAP) was being implemented in order to identify areas for improvement, and to provide outcome information to stakeholders to inform decision-making regarding ongoing implementation of PCAP in First Nation communities.

Health Care Students’ Attitudes About Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy: Responses to Narrative Vignettes — This article explores medical, midwifery, and nurse practitioner students’ attitudes about women who may consume alcohol throughout their pregnancies.

Alcohol Consumption and FASD

Environmental Scan of Prenatal Services for Marginalized Women in Alberta: Specialized Services — The Marginalized Women Working Group was formed by the Maternal Newborn Child and Youth Strategic Clinical Network to examine the availability and access to prenatal care services for marginalized women in Alberta. This environmental scan has been conducted to determine what prenatal services currently exist for marginalized women in Alberta and identify any gaps or opportunities that may be present.

Reframing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Studying Culture to Identify Communication Challenges and Opportunities — Implicit cultural understandings challenge those working to increase public awareness and support for programs to prevent and address FASD. Understanding these cultural beliefs reveals key challenges that communicators face; it also helps identify opportunities to foster public engagement and build support for policies and programs that are important for reducing the prevalence of FASD as a public health issue. Through a series of interviews with members of the public in Manitoba, Canada, the cultural models that members of the Manitoban public draw on to make sense of this issue are identified.

Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines — The Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines is a resource on maternal and newborn health. It includes the latest information and advice from Canadian experts.

Understanding mothers experiencing homelessness: A gendered approach to finding solutions for family homelessness

As well as academic publications, national action team members prepare resources to guide improvements in practice and policy, to support the prevention of FASD. Here are some examples:

Consensus Statement on 10 Fundamental Components of FASD Prevention from a Women’s Health Determinants Perspective 

Evaluation of FASD Mentoring Programs

Harm Reduction and Pregnancy: Community-based approaches to Prenatal Substance Use in Western Canada

Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) – A multi-level model

Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women Who use Substances: What Communities are Doing to Help

Taking a Relational Approach: The Importance of Supportive and Timely Connections

What Men Can Do to Help

FASD Awareness Day infographic—What we know about pregnancy and alcohol, and what women have found helpful when making decisions to stop drinking in pregnancy.


FASD Prevention – An Annotated Bibliography, articles published in 2013 FASD Prevention – An Annotated Bibliography, articles published in 2014FASD Prevention – An Annotated Bibliography, articles published in 2015 FASD Prevention – An Annotated Bibliography, articles published in 2016

Information Sheets on Women’s Alcohol Use, Tobacco Use, Marijuana Use and Prescription Opioid Use:

Women and Alcohol Women and Tobacco Women and Marijuana Women and Prescription Opioids

Other Resources

Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines — The Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines is a resource on maternal and newborn health. It includes the latest information and advice from Canadian experts.

Understanding mothers experiencing homelessness: A gendered approach to finding solutions for family homelessness

Breastfeeding and FASD

Recent Journal Articles by Prevention Team members


Are Rural and Urban Ontario Health Care Professionals Aware of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder? A Secondary Data Analysis of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Survey for Health Professionals. Journal of Developmental Disabilities. Kelly D Coons, Alexandra L Clement, Shelley L Watson (2017).

Health Care Students’ Attitudes About Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy: Responses to Narrative Vignettes. Global Qualitative Nursing Research. Kelly D. Coons, Shelley L. Watson, Nicole M. Yantzi, Nancy E. Lightfoot, Sylvie Larocque (2017).  DOI: 10.1177/2333393617740463

Preconception health care interventions: A scoping reviewSexual and Reproductive Healthcare, 14C, 24-32. Hemsing, N., Greaves, L., & Poole, N. (2017).  doi:10.1016/j.srhc.2017.08.004

“No Alcohol Is Recommended, But . . .”: Health Care Students’ Attitudes About Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy. Global Qualitative Nursing Research. Kelly D. Coons, Shelley L. Watson, Nicole M. Yantzi, Nancy E. Lightfoot, Sylvie Larocque (2017).  doi:10.1177/2333393617707663


Poole, N., Schmidt, R., Green, C., & Hemsing, N. (2016). Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Current Canadian efforts and analysis of gaps. Substance Abuse Research and Treatment, 10(S1). doi:10.4137/SART.S34545. eCollection 2016

Rutman, D. (2016) Becoming FASD-Informed: Strengthening practice and programming working with women with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment 10(S1 ) Pei, J., Tremblay, M., McNeil, A., Poole, N., McFarlane, A. (2016). Neuropsychological Aspects of Prevention and Intervention for FASD in Canada. Journal of Pediatric Neuropsychology. doi:10.1007/s40817-016-0020-1


Hubberstey, C., Rutman, D., Poole, N., Hume, S., & Van Bibber, M. (2015). Toward an evaluation framework for community-based FASD prevention programs. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. 30(1), 79-89

Marcellus, L., MacKinnon, K., Benoit, C., Phillips, R., Stengel, C. (2015). Reenvisioning Success for Programs Supporting Pregnant Women With Problematic Substance use. Qualitative Health Research, 25(4), 500-512

Robertson-Boersma, D., Butt, P., Dell, C. (2015). Reflections on how a university binge drinking prevention Initiative supports alcohol screening, brief intervention, and referral for student alcohol use. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 88(3): 339-346

For more information on CanFASD please visit:

Have You Seen This Resoource…Teaching Sexual Health


Who We Are is an innovative website developed by Alberta educators and health professionals. We offer up-to-date, evidence-based information and strategies for teachers and educators teaching the Alberta Education Human Sexuality curriculum and for parents of children from birth up to 18 years of age.

Our Mission

To help teachers, educators, and parents achieve excellence in teaching sexual health.

Our philosophy reflects the approach to sexual health education embodied in Health Canada’s (2008) Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education. The Guidelines are based on the principle that sexual health education should be accessible to all people and that it should be provided in an age appropriate, culturally sensitive manner that is respectful of an individual’s right to make informed choices about sexual and reproductive health. We believe that sexual health education honours the self-worth and dignity of the individual and does not discriminate against race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethno-cultural background or disability.

Education in sexual health needs to be structured so that attitudinal and behavioural changes arise out of informed choice. Effective sexual health education encompasses a lifespan approach, providing information, motivational support and skill-building opportunities that are relevant to people at different ages and stages in their lives. It instills awareness of the impact of one’s own behaviour on others, stressing that sexual health is an interactive process that requires respect for the self and others.

Please visit the website at



Resource: Women and Alcohol


Click to visit website.

Did you know…

• Alcohol is the mostly widely used drug in Canada.It is created when grains, fruits, or vegetables are fermented.

• The use of alcohol has been traced as far back as 8000 BC.

• Although alcohol comes in different forms (e.g., beer, wine, rum, coolers), it has the same effect. Pure (ethyl) alcohol is a clear, colourless liquid.

• Alcohol is a “depressant” drug that slows down the parts of your brain that affect your thinking and behaviour as well as your breathing and heart rate.

• For many people, drinking alcohol releases tension and reduces inhibition, making them feel more at ease and outgoing.

• Drinking can also make you feel ‘drunk’ or intoxicated. Signs of being drunk include flushed skin, impaired judgment, reduced inhibition, reduced muscle control, slowed reflexes, problems walking, slurred speech, and double or blurred vision.

• Signs of being heavily intoxicated include difficulty standing, throwing up, blacking out, and having no memory of what you said or did while drinking. Heavy drinking can lead to coma and death.

• Drinking can sometimes result in a ‘hangover’ about eight to ten hours after your last drink. Symptoms can include headache, nausea, diarrhea, dehydration, shakiness, and vomiting.

• It is possible to develop a physical dependence (addiction) on alcohol.

To find out more, please click to download the information sheet on women and alcohol!




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