What can I expect substance use to be like at UVic?

This is the exact content found in the “What can I expect substance use to be like at UVic?” activity within the Pre-Arrival Program.


Turn on any movie or TV show that portrays university life and there will probably be at least one party scene, if not more: excessive drinking, beer pong, a crowded house, red solo cups, loud music, beer funnels, sometimes over-the-top decorations and costumes. Substance use and partying is, at least in the media, synonymous with university life. So, let’s talk about it.

To be upfront, we’re not here to tell you what decisions to make when it comes to substance use. We’re not going to tell you a long list of reasons why substance use can be harmful or dangerous and we’re not going fill your brain with facts about various substances and safer use. While elements of those things may show up throughout the activities, that’s not what this topic is for. Instead, the activities within this topic are intended to help you answer the question: What do I want my relationship with substances to be?

Graphic reading: What do you want your relationship with substances to be?

What do we mean when we say ‘substance use’ throughout this topic? Primarily, we’re referring to using alcohol and cannabis, two commonly used recreational drugs that are legal in Canada. However, substance use could include the illegal use of prescription medication as a study aid or the use of illegal drugs such as MDMA, cocaine and heroin.

We’re not here to tell you what to do, but there are a few key things we want you to know and factor into your decisions.

  1. The legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19 years of age. This is also the legal age for smoking or vaping cannabis.
  2. While cannabis is legal in Canada, every province and municipality has its own laws and regulations surrounding the use of the substance. If you are choosing to smoke cannabis, make sure you are aware of the laws in British Columbia and in Victoria.
  3. Smoking on campus is only permitted in certain designated areas.
  4. If you are living in residence, make sure you familiarize yourself with the residence policies pertaining to alcohol and cannabis.
  5. Never consume alcohol or cannabis and then get behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle. Don’t drink and drive.

>> Return to the overview of the Substance use topic