Grad season is a time to celebrate and Island Health wants young people, their families and friends to make sure the experience is one to treasure.
- It’s best to avoid drugs and alcohol. If you do use, know how to stay safer.
- Follow the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines and never leave your drink unattended so it can’t be spiked.
- Take one substance at a time and don’t mix.
- Choose safer ways to use cannabis – avoid smoking cannabis, inhaling deeply and holding your breath, go low/go slow with edibles.
- Make sure your friends are with you and tell them what you think you have taken.
- Know the signs of an opioid overdose, how to respond, and carry a Naloxone kit. If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately and give breaths every five seconds until help arrives.
- You can’t be arrested for helping someone, even if you are carrying drugs.
- And plan a safe ride home. Driving high is driving impaired.
- You always need a ‘YES!’ for sex. Consent is ‘yes’ and everything else is not. You can’t give consent if you’ve consumed alcohol or drugs. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender and sexuality. Trust yourself. If you or a friend think you have experienced sexual assault or violence, get help.
- If you’re sexually active, make condoms a part of your party planning. If you have had unprotected sex, find out where to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI). You also can visit your school wellness centre or an Island Health youth clinic for emergency contraception, STI testing and more.
- Take steps to manage stress around graduation time.
- Take some time out to do what relaxes you, whether it is listening to music, getting active, or spending time with a pet.
- Healthy eating can help your body deal with stress. Eat regular meals and snacks based on the Canada Food Guide.
- It's ok to ask for help. No matter how you are feeling, you are not alone. Talk to someone you trust, whether it is a friend, family member, teacher or coach. If you are in crisis, you can reach the 24 hour Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888.
“Graduation is a wonderful achievement, and young people are savvy about celebrating safely – they do not buy into media portrayals of drug and alcohol-fuelled parties as the only way to mark this important accomplishment,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer. “Unlike times past, you can count on a digital recording of the celebration – good or bad. I want young people to know that there are steps they can take to have a safe grad season, to create great memories of the event and to understand that there is help available if they find themselves in a difficult situation.”