Popping pills: Do study drugs actually affect academic performance?

Leaving things to the last minute requires solid concentration skills to get everything done, and popping pills or guzzling caffeine and energy drinks to finish that essay is a common narrative among students. Coffee, energy drinks, and drugs that treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), like Adderall, are what the scientific community call “stimulants”— substances that excite and speed up the brain to increase alertness, attention, and energy, according to Health Canada. But should students rely on stimulants to help them study, and do they actually impact academic performance? Why do students use study drugs? Charlotte Halliday, a third-year psychology student at Carleton University, said she uses caffeine and Adderall to help combat the anxiety of completing last-minute assignments and […]

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Health Canada considers banning smoking on campuses

The federal government is considering a new anti-tobacco policy that could ban smoking on post-secondary school campuses. In addition to a smoking ban, new guidelines would see the legal age for buying tobacco products raised to 21. According to a discussion paper published by Health Canada on Feb. 22, approximately 15 per cent of Canada’s population uses tobacco products—or an estimated four million people. The new proposal aims to reduce tobacco use to less than five per cent by 2035. Each post-secondary school already has its own smoking policy, with variations of smoking bans dependent on the province in which they reside in. Carleton University’s policy prohibits smoking within 10 meters of any entrance or exit of all buildings, as […]

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U of O student finds black mould in residence unit

Student housing at the University of Ottawa (U of O) has been working to address concerns of black mould being present in at least one residence building. Dev Thain, a masters of business administration student at U of O currently living with a roommate in Brooks residence building, said problems with his basement unit began on “day one” of his rental. “We got an inspector to come to the unit, and we found a lot of black mould,” Thain said. “My housemate is coughing a lot.” According to Health Canada’s website, mould is caused by damp conditions and is often found on drywall, wood, and carpeting. By breathing in the spores released by mould, people can experience coughing, shortness of […]

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Vaping regulations implemented on some university campuses

Vaping and smoking e-cigarettes are banned in areas where cigarettes are forbidden, following the provincial government’s changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and Electronic Cigarettes Act in March. Western University’s smoking policy was extended to include vaping in June. Jane O’Brien, the associate vice-president of human resources at Western, said Western’s delayed response was due to consultations. “We’ve been in consultation with all community stakeholders for the last 18 months around how we were going to implement the legislation,” O’Brien said. “We have involved all the employee union groups, the undergraduate students, the graduate students, faculty, staff, members of our alumni. We also happen to have facilities like hotels and different types of external office buildings on our campus as […]

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Letter: Aboriginal suicide rates largely ignored in Canada

Last week, the chief of Manitoba’s Pimicikamak Cree Nation declared a state of emergency. With six suicides since December and numerous other unsuccessful suicide attempts, 170 high school students have been placed on suicide watch and the entire community has been devastated. Following Pimicikamak’s declaration, politician Bob Rae tweeted: “If there were 200 kids on suicide watch in Rosedale something dramatic and effective would be done about it.” Rae is right—if this was happening in Rosedale (one of Toronto’s most affluent neighbourhoods), something would be done about it immediately. But if this was Rosedale, the mental health crisis never would have become so bad in the first place. People would have started listening a lot sooner. Over the years, awareness […]

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