Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in Canada. Understanding the impacts of alcohol use is essential to minimizing the risks and harms. For this reason, CCSA conducts research, brings together knowledge and provides targeted materials to support evidence-based decisions and actions for policy, practice and use.
What Is Alcohol?
Alcohol, also known as ethanol, is a legal substance known for its psychoactive properties. It is produced by fermenting or distilling produce or grains. Fermented beverages include beer, cider, wine and flavoured purified alcohol, which range from 0.5% to 20% alcohol by volume (ABV). Distilled beverages, often called spirits, include products such as vodka and whisky, which usually are 25% ABV and higher.
Many social gatherings feature alcoholic beverages. Nevertheless, the consumption of alcohol carries a risk of adverse health and social consequences related to its intoxicating, toxic and dependence-producing properties. To avoid harms, Canadians who choose to drink should follow Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.