Island Health goes green to shine a light on preventable injuries

Victoria General Hospital main entrance

Victoria General Hospital (VGH) lights up green this week to mark the seventh National Injury Prevention Day in Canada, shining a light on the devastating effects of predictable and preventable injuries. 

On Wednesday, July 5, Island Health and VGH join Parachute, and numerous hospitals and landmarks across Canada, including the Parliament Buildings in Victoria, and the historical Nanaimo Bastion, to help raise awareness around the importance of injury prevention. 

“Injuries are not accidents; they’re mostly both predictable and preventable. Injuries are the outcomes of human-made design and the choices we make as individuals,” said Dr. Réka Gustafson, Island Health’s vice president of population health and chief medical health officer. “We all hold the power to lessen our risk of an injury.”

Alcohol and substance use can affect one’s judgment, vision, coordination, and decision-making. Parts of the brain responsible for these functions are among the first impacted. As a result, people who use these substances and partake in high risk, or certain activities, are more likely to get hurt than people who don't.

“When the activity starts with, “Hold my beer,” you know it’s time to take a step back and have a conversation with yourself,” said Amelia Smit, Injury & Violence Prevention consultant, Island Health. “Of course, we want everyone to have fun, but we also want everyone to live long lives to the fullest. So we’re asking people to avoid or limit your use of alcohol and substances while doing certain activities, to reduce the risk of injury.”

VGH will light up green until July 9. 

To learn more about reducing injury visit:
Canada’s new Guidance on Alcohol and Health 
Knowing Your Limits with Cannabis



Consuming any amount of alcohol and/or substances is associated with an increased risk of harms to self and others, including injuries and violence.

If you do partake: 

  • Drink lots of water
  • For every drink of alcohol, have one non-alcoholic drink
  • Choose alcohol-free or low-alcohol beverages
  • Eat before and while you’re drinking or using substances
  • Choose cannabis with lower levels of THC and/or high CBD content, and try a small amount first
  • Have alcohol and substance-free weeks or do alcohol and substance-free activities

Substances affect your cognition and reaction time. When you drink alcohol and blood alcohol concentration levels go up, your risk of death from injury rises exponentially. Combining alcohol and cannabis compounds your level of impairment and risk. For as long as six hours or more, cannabis can impair your ability to drive by affecting motor skills, slowing reaction time, impairing short-term memory and concentration and reducing the ability to make decisions quickly. 

The same goes for activities like boating and operating an ATV. Do not consume alcohol, since you’ll need to maintain proper judgment and reaction time. 

Other activities which should be alcohol and substance-free:

  • Using machinery and tools
  • Taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol
  • Participating in potentially dangerous physical activity (certain sports including hockey, rugby, baseball, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and water skiing)
  • When you are responsible for the safety of others
  • When making important decisions