Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in Ontario. The biggest risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. 

If you're thinking about quitting, make an appointment with your doctor and check out the Smoker's Helpline for tips and tricks on a successful quit date.  The Central Hastings Family Health Team is pleased to be part of the CAMH STOP program, which provides counseling and nicotine replacement therapy for free for rostered patients who are referred to the program. There are also presciption medications that can help you quit. 

Not sure about quitting yet? Then the brochure For Smokers who don't want to Quitis for you. 

After tobacco,​​​ alcohol is the substance that causes the most harm in Canada. ​The over-consumption of alcohol can cause chronic health conditions (such as some cancers and cirrhosis of the liver), diseases, injury and death. You can reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than 10 drinks a week for women, and no more than 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days.

Also see RethinkingDrinking from the NIAAA in the United States, as it has great information and supports

The signs of alcohol becoming a problem are the same as those listed above for opiate misuse. If you or someone you know seems to have a problem, discuss this with your doctor. There are good social and medical treatments to assist you, and a lot more options than there ever have been for treatment. Groups styled on Alcoholics Anonymous, such as Celebrate Recovery and Secular Organizations for Sobriety are further options for group meetings. There is nothing more powerful than talking to someone who has been through a similar journey.


This is one type of treatment option for people who are addicted to opiates (such as percocets, oxycontin, dilaudid, tylenol #3, heroin, hydromorphone, oxycocet, etc). In this type of treatment, the addicted person is prescribed a substitution medication such as methadone or suboxone, so that they can reduce the harm of opiate use to their bodies and to their lives. This usually means that they stop having to buy illegal opiates, which can help them get their life back, whether that is through returning to work or school, or just by being part of their family again.

How do you know if your use or someone else's use has moved into an addiction? Check to see if you or someone you know have experienced some of these symptoms:

  • Needing to take more of the drug to get the same effect—or getting a lesser effect from the same amount of drug
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using opioids, or taking other drugs to help relieve withdrawal symptoms (withdrawal symptoms from opiates include all over muscle aches, yawning, sweating, anxiety, goosebumps, runny nose, large pupils, shakiness)
  • Taking larger amounts of opioids than planned, and for longer periods of time
  • Persistently wanting to quit, or trying unsuccessfully to quit
  • Spending a lot of time and effort to obtain, use, and recover from taking opioids
  • Working less, missing work, or, if unemployed, not seriously looking for a job
  • Spending less time seeing friends who don’t use opioids; skipping recreational activities
  • Continuing to use opioids despite negative consequences (such as getting in trouble at work, arguing with spouse about use, health problems or legal problems)

If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol or opiates, there are many options. Speak with your health care provider, call the Drug and Alcohol Helpline (1-800-565-8603), look up a local Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting, or come into Dr. Holowaty's office anytime we are open to complete your intake forms and get booked for your first appointment. We aim for a week or less between when you first come in and when you can start treatment. Multiple medications are currently available for opiate use disorder as well as alcohol use disorder. 

Our office liaises with an addictions counselor on site and we provide immunizations and hepatitis C treatment if needed as well.

Opiate Substitution Therapy

Getting Help

Alcohol Use Disorder

Stopping Smoking

Harm Reduction

Dr. Holowaty also participates in the Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program's needle exchange program to provide sterile, single use equipment to help prevent disease transmission and reduce the potential health risks associated with injection drug use. You do not need to be a patient here to access this program. Drop off your filled sharps containers from the program and access clean supplies and new sharps boxes.

Dr. Holowaty has been a strong advocator for take home naloxone for opiate users. She is thrilled that the Ontario government has finally set up a free take home naloxone program. All pharmacies that have sufficient expertise to dispense opiates should be capable of dispensing and educating on the free naloxone kits for opiate overdose. Ask for yours at your pharmacy today!