Immunization/Vaccine Awareness

Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective health interventions and a primary response against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Students are encouraged to review their immunization records with their health care provider as it is never too late to be vaccinated. 

Please consider the information below to inform and empower your own health and medical decisions. Not all vaccines are mandatory nor recommended for everyone. Consider your current health status, risk factors, and in consultation with your health care provider – move forward in a way that best supports your individual and community health.

Recommended vaccines as per the Government of Manitoba:

For a complete list of routine immunizations and schedules

For more information on recommended immunization schedules for individuals who are not immunized

There may be additional vaccines that are recommended based on your current health needs. To further discuss vaccine eligibility, recommendations, scheduling, or additional information, please consult with your primary health care provider. If you do not have a primary health care provider, please refer to the resources below:

  1. University of Manitoba, University Health Services: 204-474-8411
  2. Manitoba, Family Doctor Finder: 204-768-7111

Certain University of Manitoba programs may also require specific immunizations and documentation to mitigate individual and community safety. These recommendations should be followed. 


Not all vaccines are publicly-funded and may have an associated cost. You may connect with your insurance provider or health office prior to obtaining immunizations/vaccines to confirm. This will vary between province/territory and country. 

Manitoba Health: Covers publicly-funded immunizations/vaccines for those eligible. Review eligibility criteria for Manitoba Health publicly-funded immunizations/vaccines.

MISHP: Does not cover immunization/vaccines.

UMSU Health and Dental: Covers 80% of prescribed immunizations/vaccines for a maximum of $150.00/year. For vaccinations that don’t require a prescription, it is recommended you phone to confirm your coverage. 

Private Insurance: Please consult with your private insurance company to learn more.

Immunization Records

You can usually obtain your immunization record through your health care provider or local Public Health Office. However, if you have received immunizations outside of Manitoba, they will not be automatically added to your record. Follow these instructions if you would like to submit records from outside of Manitoba to update your records.

Additional Resources

Meningococcal Meningitis (Meningitis B)

Please consider the information below to inform and empower your own health and medical decisions. The 4CMenB vaccine is not mandatory. Consider your current health status, risk factors, and in consultation with your health care provider – move forward in a way that best supports your individual and community health.

What is Meningitis B?

A bacterial infection that can spread from one person to another. 

How is Meningitis B contracted?

Occurs through direct contact with secretions of the nose or mouth of someone who is currently experiencing the infection. This can include close face-to-face contact, kissing, sneezing and sharing drinks or food, eating utensils, cigarettes, makeup, or musical instruments. This list is not exhaustive and other forms of close contact with such secretions can increase risk to contracting meningitis B.

Meningitis B is not contracted by being in the same room with someone who is experiencing the infection (does not spread through air or casual contact).

Who can get Meningitis B?

While anyone can get Meningitis B, a person’s risk factor depends on age, medical condition, medications, and environment

University and college students are encouraged to be aware and consider preventative measures for Meningitis B as a result of commonly shared areas and living arrangements, with behaviors and activities that result in sharing personal items. 

What are the symptoms of Meningitis B?

Similar to flu like symptoms. 

  • Sudden onset of high fever
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion 
  • Stiff neck

How to prevent Meningitis B?

  • In collaboration with your health care provider, keep up to date with routine vaccinations. 
    • The Meningitis B vaccine (4CMenB) is recommended for individuals aged 2 months to 25 years with an accompanying medical risk. 
  • Maintain healthy habits including adequate sleep, nutrition, and regular movement. 
  • Engage in efforts to reduce contact with other’s nose and mouth secretions (saliva, spit)
  • Practice good hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette 

For more information on Meningitis B immunization schedule
For more information on routine immunizations in Manitoba
For more information on routine immunization scheduled for those who have not been previously immunize

Access and Coverage of the Meningitis B Vaccine:


The Meningitis B vaccine is free of charge to anyone with a Manitoba Health card between the ages of 2 months and 25 years, who meet the eligibility criteria.

For those without a Manitoba Health card, or those who don’t meet eligibility criteria for coverage, the cost is $130.00/dose.

For more information on immunization eligibility within Manitoba or the 4CMenB vaccine
For more information on the 4CMenB vaccine 


Consult with your primary health care provider on whether the 4CMenB may be recommended for you. 

If you do not have a health care provider and would like to connect with one within Manitoba, please review the following resources:

  1. University of Manitoba, University Health Services: 204-474-8411
  2. Manitoba, Family Doctor Finder: 204-768-7111

What is the treatment for Meningitis B?

Early identification of Meningitis B is important. If you are noticing symptoms consult with your health care provider or present to the nearest emergency room.

Antibiotics, rest, fluids, and/or pain medicine may be explored.

Mental health

Protect your mental health

Mental health is essential to academic success. Stress, anxiety and depression were the top three factors that students reported negatively affected their academics in the past year. Stress can contribute to physical illness, decreased immune function, and disrupted sleep, as well as anxiety and depression.

Take action

  • Reach out and talk to someone when you are struggling. There are many resources available for students. 
  • Always schedule time to do things you enjoy such as: exercise, visit a friend, walk, volunteer, do art. Whatever makes you happy. 
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating well and minimizing caffeine and substance use. 
  • Listen to others and be aware of signs of distress. If someone is struggling, help connect them to someone who can help. 
  • Join a student group that promotes mental health awareness. 
  • Request a Healthy U stress workshop. 
  • Visit Healthy U to learn mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

On-campus mental health resources

On-campus resources are available if you are concerned about mental health issues and wish to learn more, or if you require assistance.

  • University Health Service
    Provides primary care and health promotion
    100 UMSU University Centre
    Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Closed daily from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Student counselling centre
    Provides free counselling and mental health support to UM students.

Off-campus mental health resources

Off-campus resources are also available by dialing directly to:

Online mental health resources

Online resources can also be accessed at your convenience:

    • One minute meditations
  • Calm in the Storm
    • An app for mindfulness meditation and other activities to improve mental health. Available for Android and iOS
  • Mindshift
    • An app to help manage anxiety. Available for Android and iOS

Sexual health and wellness

Practice healthy sexuality

The Health and Wellness at the University of Manitoba views sexual health and wellness with a sex-positive approach, and takes a broad view of healthy sexuality. Our goal is that you will feel comfortable discussing and learning about your bodies, relationships, consent, and communication. Everything you discuss with us is kept completely confidential.

Take action

Get educated. Don’t be shy to use available resources. Not only will you become more informed about your sexual health, but education can boost your confidence. 

Free safer sex supplies are available at Health and Wellness and Healthy U. Feel free to drop by or connect with us to learn more about purpose and proper usage!

Communication is key and consent is mandatory. Talk to your partner(s) about safer and enjoyable sex to increase pleasure for everyone involved. 

It is important to have regular discussions about healthy sexuality with your health care provider.

Spotlight on sexual health

Did you know that one in two students would like more information from the University of Manitoba on sexually transmitted infection prevention? Or that 74 per cent of students don't think they have received enough information on preventing pregnancy?

Healthy U can provide you with information on both these topics, as well as on sex positivity, relationships, consent, and communication. They also provide free safer sex supplies. Drop in to Healthy U at 474 UMSU University Centre.

  • Becoming comfortable with your sexuality improves your ability to make healthy choices and to respect others’ choices as well. If you are sexually active it is important to get tested for STIs at least once per year and with every change in partner, even if you don’t show symptoms. 
  • Condoms prevent many types of STIs, including HIV. However, they do not prevent against HPV. 
  • Poor body image has shown to significantly decrease sexual satisfaction. Receiving help for body image may improve your sexual experiences. 

Social and cultural wellness

Build a support system

Having healthy relationships with others, means you will have people to help you when life gets difficult, as well as people with whom you can share your happiness. These relationships are often referred to as a support system.

While you may feel like you are okay on your own, lacking a support system can have long-term effects on your mental health. Loneliness has been known to lead to anxiety and depression.

Consider different perspectives

Hearing from people with different values and practices can give you new perspectives and add dimension to your life. Understanding and appreciating cultural diversity will help you connect with a wider variety of students during your university experience.

Take action

  • Be willing to meet new people and make new friends. Sign up for courses and activities that genuinely interest you, and consider joining a student group.
  • Consider volunteering on or off campus.
  • Attend some free groups and workshops to help with relationship and communication. These are available through the Student Counselling Centre, as well as relationship counselling.
  • Challenge your discomfort about other ethnicities, cultures, sexualities, genders, religions, etc. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many nice people there are in the world.
  • Be aware of your own culture, and how that may affect your interactions with others. Connect with other cultural or social groups which can help you become more culturally aware.

Physical health

Get moving

Regular exercise can improve your memory, leading to better grades. It can also boost your energy when you're tired of staring at your textbook. Physical activity increases energy and self-esteem as well as provides relief from stress, anxiety, and depression. It also improves quality of sleep.

Maintain a balanced diet

Eating a variety of foods that give you energy and make you feel satisfied will help contribute to your overall health.

Take action

  • Take a study break and get moving. If you are a part- or full-time student, you have already paid gym membership fees in your tuition.
  • Start small and build up. Even using the stairs or taking a 5-minute walk outside can have stress-reducing effects.
  • Pack your lunch the night before, and try to limit processed foods.
  • Attend a body image workshop through the Student Counselling Centre.

Spiritual health

Find your purpose

Between ages 18 - 25, your life-guiding principles, aspirations, and sense of self are solidifying. During this time, the need for finding purpose and building community becomes much stronger. This time of transition and exploration may bring anxiety and insecurity. The Spiritual Care and Multifaith Centre is able to provide support if this is your experience.

While spirituality may include traditional forms of faith, it is not limited to this. Spirituality can be incorporated by anyone into all aspects of daily life.

Take action

  • Consider the following questions:
    • What gives you hope and strength?
    • What helps you cope during difficult times?
    • What sustains you?
  • Try journaling, reading, or listening to music.
  • Get in touch with nature or other forms of beauty.
  • Express your creativity though things like music, art, dance, cooking, or gardening.
  • Volunteer or perform simple acts of kindness.
  • Work at forgiving yourself and others.
  • Take time to be silent through meditation, prayer, or contemplation.
  • Take part in meaningful rituals – religious or otherwise.
  • Join a support group.

Sleep hygiene

Get a good night's sleep

The average young adult needs approximately 8 hours of sleep each night. Getting less sleep than this, lowers brain function and can negatively affect your learning. Students who consistently get more than 6 hours of sleep per night have higher G.P.A.s than those who don’t. Your body does not adapt to less sleep. Instead, you become chronically sleep deprived.

Regular exercise improves sleep, as long as it is completed more than 3 hours before bedtime.

Take action

  • Turn off your phone. One of the most important things an individual can do is limit the amount of time spent on electronic devices before bed. These devices emit a blue light that triggers your body to wake up.
  • Set a regular sleep schedule for yourself: try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch.
  • Taking a hot bath or shower before bed changes your core temperature and signals for sleep.
  • Make sure you get sunlight during the day, as this helps maintain your sleep-wake cycle.
  • If you need to take a nap during the day, keep it to 20 minutes to avoid disrupting your nighttime sleep.


At the Health and Wellness Office, we encourage you to use alcohol responsibly. If you have concerns about your alcohol use, we can also help you find resources and support.

Alcohol at UM

In Manitoba, alcohol consumption is legal for those 18 years of age or older. Alcohol may only be consumed on private property or in licensed areas. At UM, alcohol consumption is only permitted in designated areas on campus, such as licensed premises or at approved events with occasional permits to serve alcohol. Alcohol consumption in student residences is allowed in accordance with the guidelines established in the residence contract.

Canada's low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines

Regardless of gender, age, tolerance, or alcohol type, the risks of alcohol-related consequences increase with the number of drinks you have per week.

What is a standard drink?
One drink Alcohol content
Beer - 341 ml (12 oz) 5 per cent
Cooler - 342 ml (12 oz) 5 per cent
Wine - 142 ml (5oz) 12 per cent
Hard alcohol - 43 ml (1.5 oz) 40 per cent

When is zero the limit?

  • While driving a vehicle or using machinery
  • When taking medicine that could potentially interact with alcohol
  • During any kind of dangerous physical activity
  • Living with mental or physical health problems
  • Pregnant or planning to conceive
  • When you're responsible for the safety of others
  • When you're making important decisions

What are Canada’s 2023 low risk alcohol drinking guidelines? 

  • Low risk: 2 or fewer drinks per week
  • Moderate risk: 3-6 drinks per week
  • Increasingly high risk: 7 drinks or more per week

For more information on the new guidelines or to explore supporting research, visit The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

Take action

Visit the Addiction Foundation Manitoba community support worker on campus to explore your relationship with alcohol or to discuss help for those you care about

If you choose to drink, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk:

  • Alternate non-alcoholic with alcoholic beverages
  • Avoid drinking games
  • Determine in advance not to exceed a set number of drinks
  • Eat before and/or during drinking
    • Eating while drinking slows alcohol absorption
  • Have a friend let you know when you have had enough
  • Keep track of how many drinks are being consumed
    • Check marks on a calendar, an app in your phone, 3x5 cards that fit in your wallet
  • Pace drinks to one or fewer an hour
  • Stay with the same group of friends the entire time drinking
  • Stick with only one kind of alcohol while drinking
  • Refuse a drink from a stranger
  • Never leave a drink unattended 
  • If you’re offered a drink that you don’t see poured, decline
  • Use a designated driver (DD)
    • A friend or family member
    • A taxi or an Uber driver
    • Take turns being DD with your friends so that everyone has a safe ride home 
    • Avoid getting into a car with someone who has been drinking
    • If you cannot arrange a DD, choose not to drink

97% of students reported employing one or more of the above protective strategies to slow down alcohol consumption “most of the time” or “always” when they partied or socialized during the last 12 months. Having strategies in place is normal, acceptable, and essential to decreasing your risk. Be safe if you choose to drink.

Information in accordance with the 2019 NCHA Survey Results.

Alcohol use resources

It’s okay to not drink alcohol

According to a recent survey (NCHA, 2019) almost all UM students are under the impression that their peers are drinking more than they actually are:

  • -96% of UM students believe that their peers drink alcohol
  • -But, 22% of our students have never used alcohol 

This misconception about widespread alcohol use among postsecondary students is important to address as it can contribute to perceived peer pressure to consume when, in fact, about 40% of UM students reported that they have never used alcohol or only used it once in the past 30 days.

If you choose not to drink, you are in good company, as many UM students either don’t drink or have not consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. You are not alone.


Binge drinking

Binge drinking has been defined as consuming 5 or more drinks for men or 4 or more drinks for women in one sitting.  According to the CPADS, 56% of the UM students who drink alcohol drink heavily or binge at least once a month. 

Binge drinking can put you at an increased risk for:

  • Unintentional injury such as motor vehicle collisions, falls, or burns
  • Becoming a victim of sexual violence 
  • Increased violence
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Unplanned pregnancy 
  • Changes in mood
  • Academic challenges (missing class or falling behind in schoolwork)
  • Memory, concentration, and learning difficulties 
  • Development of alcohol dependence
  • Chronic diseases such as heart disease or high blood pressure

Binge drinking is dangerous, and you should consider steps to eliminate this behavior or reduce your risk.

Alcohol quick facts

The 2019 NCHA survey results report that 54% of students reported experiencing one or more of the following in the last 12 months, while drinking alcohol: 

  • Did something you later regretted
  • Forgot where you were or what you did
  • Got in trouble with the police
  • Someone had sex with me without my consent
  • Had sex with someone without their consent
  • Had unprotected sex
  • Physically injured yourself
  • Physically injured another person
  • Seriously considered suicide 

The 2019-2020 CPADS survey results showed that 47% of UM students who drink alcohol experienced at least one alcohol harm in the past 30 days, including:

  • Had a hangover 
  • Less energy or felt tired 
  • Said or did embarrassing things 
  • Drank on nights when planned not to 
  • Felt sick to their stomach or thrown up

In addition, 22% of UM students experienced at least one harm as a result of another’s drinking, including:

  • Had to be taken care of by you 
  • Upset or disappointed by another student 
  • Affected sleep

Clearly, there are a number of risks of harm associated with drinking alcohol, all of which increase with the amount consumed.


Cannabis is now legal in Canada, but it is not allowed on university property except for medicinal uses. If you have questions about cannabis use, drop into our offices or speak to a Healthy U volunteer.

University policy

The University of Manitoba’s policy on cannabis use will be in accordance with provincial legislation. This means:

  • smoking and vaporizing cannabis is prohibited on campus.
  • growing cannabis is prohibited on campus.
  • sale of cannabis is prohibited on campus.

Medicinal use of cannabis is restricted to those with a valid prescription, and must be in accordance with the University’s Clean Air Procedure.


Cannabis is legal in Canada (since October 17, 2018) for individuals ages 19+. Only cannabis purchased in licensed stores will be legal, and there will be limits on how much you can possess at once. Cannabis will only be legal to use in private property. For more information, visit Cannabis in Manitoba.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis refers to the plant Cannabis sativa.

  • Marijuana (also called pot, weed, or grass): the dried leaves and flowers of the plant. 
  • Hashish (hash): A dried resin from the top of the plant. 
  • Hash oil: a sticky oil made from hashish. It is often put in small bottles or caps

Cannabis use and your health

Whether you use cannabis regularly or only once in a while, there are risks involved. 

In the same way that it is important to keep an eye on your diet and how it affects your health, it is important to understand your cannabis use and how it affects your body and your life. Cannabis may affect your physical, mental, emotional, and social health.

How to lower the risks if you choose to use cannabis

These recommendations are in accordance with Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines.

Abstinence: Like anything else that can be harmful, the best way to keep yourself safe is to not use the substance at all. When thinking about using cannabis, consider the risks and the benefits.

Defer cannabis use: Harms from cannabis use have been linked to starting at an early age, which may be related to brain development. Since your brain isn't fully developed until your mid-twenties, consider waiting until then to try cannabis.

Use cannabis with lower THC: Cannabis is made up of a few different components, including THC and CBD. THC is the part that can cause hallucinations and is responsible for most of the harms of cannabis use. CBD counter-acts some of the THC, meaning it can make your cannabis more safe. If possible, try using cannabis products with less THC and more CBD - this is often referred to as a high CBD:THC ratio.

Avoid synthetic cannabinoids: Health risks are much higher in synthetic cannabis products, such as K2 or Spice. If you want to lower your risk, avoid these products.

Avoid smoking cannabis: You have probably heard that inhaling smoke is bad for your lungs - this applies to smoking cannabis too. Try non-inhaled methods such as edibles or vaporizers. Just remember that edibles often contain higher doses of cannabis, so be aware of how much you're using.

Avoid deep inhalation: If you're going to be inhaling your cannabis (i.e. smoking a joint), avoid deep inhalation or holding your breath before exhaling, as these expose your lungs to more smoke. Try inhaling less smoke with each puff, and exhaling sooner than you would have before.

Use cannabis less often: The risks associated with cannabis use are linked to how often you use cannabis. If you use cannabis daily or almost every day, you are at a much higher risk for problems (either right away or later on) than if you use it once a week or only on weekends.

Don't use and drive: Cannabis can make it harder to concentrate, make judgement calls, and have control over your physical actions. This means that driving while using can be very dangerous. While everyone responds to cannabis differently, you typically need to wait 6 hours after using before it is safe to drive.

Understand personal risk factors before using cannabis

If you have a first-degree relative (i.e. a parent or sibling) with an addiction or who experiences psychosis, you have a much higher risk of developing the same. If you are pregnant, cannabis can harm the fetus as well. Know what makes you a higher risk for troubles than others, and weigh this in to your decision about whether or not to use.

Avoid combining risks

While each of the risks described here can cause issues on their own, it is even more dangerous to combine these risks (i.e. using high-THC cannabis every day). Try eliminating as many risk factors as you can in order to keep yourself as safe as possible.

Where to find help if you are worried about your cannabis use

If you are concerned about your cannabis use for any reason, seek help. There are many resources available for a variety of issues.

Healthy U

Many people have found that peer health educators are a helpful way of receiving support for their cannabis use. Our Healthy U volunteers are able to share ways you can protect yourself while using cannabis, direct you towards appropriate resources if you want help, and be a set of listening ears if you just want to talk about your experiences or struggles.

Healthy and Wellness

If you would like to learn strategies to help manage your cannabis use, visit Health and Wellness.

  • Student Counselling Centre – 474 UMSU University Centre 

    If you would like counselling regarding your substance use, the Student Counselling Centre has an Addictions Foundation of Manitoba counsellor on site.

  • University Health Services – 104 UMSU University Centre 

    If you have concerns about the effects of cannabis on your physical health, visit University Health Services on campus, or see your family doctor.

  • Addictions Foundation of Manitoba – 1031 Portage Avenue or on campus 

    If you are seeking help for an addiction, consider meeting with an AFM counsellor at the Student Counselling Centre. You can also visit AFM's website for a list of services and contact numbers.

  • Klinic – 167 Sherbrook Street

    If you are struggling with your mental health and are not comfortable seeing someone on campus, visit Klinic for support.

Information adapted from Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse & Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).


Opioids, also known as narcotics, are a form of very strong pain relievers. Some of these drugs can be prescribed, but they are also found in street form.

Opioid use

Opioids are addictive, even for people who are using prescription opioids. If someone uses too much of any opioid, they are at risk for respiratory depression, or their breathing may slow to a stop. Some examples of opioids include:

  • Fentanyl and carfentanil
  • Morphine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Codeine and T3s
  • Percocet
  • Tramadol and Tramacet
  • Oxycodone
  • Heroin

The opioid crisis

In the past few years, Canada has seen an increase in deaths from opioid overdose. In 2017, Manitoba had 86 deaths, and Canada had 3,987. It is more important now than ever that we learn about safer use of opioids. 

Source: National report: Apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada (released June 2018)

Reduce your risk

While using opioids in any way other than as prescribed can be dangerous, some people still choose to use opioids. Here are some things to consider to improve your safety.

Use sterile needles and syringes

Find somewhere that distributes sterile needles and syringes, such as Street Connections. Many walk-in clinics also offer this service. Re-using or sharing needles is dangerous, as you risk getting HIV and Hepatitis C, both of which are life-threatening. Use a new needle each time.

Buddy system

If you’re using, make sure you’re with a friend who doesn’t use, in case you overdose.

Watch your dose

Remember that while you may build up a tolerance to higher doses, if you haven’t used in a while you may not be able to handle what you used to.

Avoid pregnancy

If you use opioids while pregnant, there can be very serious problems for the fetus, such as premature delivery or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Use somewhere safe

Try not to use in unsafe places or around people you don’t trust. 

Quitting opioids

Quitting opioids is very difficult. There are many resources available, including Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, who has a counsellor on campus in the Student Counselling Centre.


Methadone can help make the process of rehabilitation more effective. It does not cure the addiction, but it can reduce cravings for drugs. Being on this methadone also makes it harder to experience a high from other drugs. When taken appropriately, methadone will not make you feel high or drugged, and many people have said it helped them live a more normal life. Methadone treatment is available through Opiate Addiction Treatment Services, which has locations on Main Street and Pembina Hwy. 

Source: Opiate Addiction Treatment Services

Opioid addiction help

Whether you are looking to quit, cut down on use, or just to receive help, there are many options available: 

  • Addictions Foundation of Manitoba: 1031 Portage Ave
  • Addictions Foundation of Manitoba also has a counsellor on the Fort Garry campus in the Student Counselling Centre
  • Student Counselling Centre: 474 UMSU University Centre
  • University Health Services or your family doctor


Fentanyl is a potent prescription synthetic opioid, used primarily to treat severe pain. It is up to 100 times stronger than other drugs such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone. There have been a significant number of overdoses and deaths related to legal and illicit fentanyl use across Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada.

Cocaine, oxycodone, club drugs, heroin and other drugs you may choose to use may be cut with fentanyl in powder, liquid or pill form. You can’t see, smell, or taste fentanyl. If the drug you are using has been cut with fentanyl or has been unintentionally contaminated with fentanyl, it can kill you. A deadly dose is equal to two grains of salt.

Where fentanyl is coming from

In Manitoba illicit fentanyl powder is being imported from overseas. 

Fentanyl is also obtained by sale of legitimate prescriptions, theft of prescriptions, theft of the drug from institutions, double doctoring, fraudulent prescriptions, as well as purchasing from dark websites and illicit production.

Drug dealers often sell fake versions of drugs that contain unknown and varied amounts of fentanyl and other toxic substances, without the buyer knowing.

Testing drugs for fentanyl

At this time there is no rapid detection test that is currently available for general use.

Identifying a fentanyl overdose

Signs of an overdose include: severe sleepiness, the person can’t walk or talk or their body is limp 

  • no response to yelling or rubbing knuckles on the centre of their chest
  • slow or no heartbeat
  • slow or shallow breathing, trouble breathing, or no breathing; gurgling or snoring sounds
  • cold, clammy skin or bluish lips
  • vomiting
  • pupils that are very small or eyes are rolled back

What to do if you think someone is overdosing

Always call 911 immediately.

Be prepared to give rescue breaths if the person stops breathing and/or administer naloxone (Narcan) if available.

What to know if you choose to use fentanyl

For your own health and safety, we always advise that you avoid all illicit drugs. However, if you do choose to use:

  • never use alone
  • start with a small amount
  • do not mix substances, including alcohol, as it increases risk of overdose
  • call 911 right away if you think someone is overdosing
  • make a plan and know how to respond in case of an overdose
  • use only where help is easily available
  • be prepared to give rescue breaths and/or, if available, administer naloxone (Narcan) until help arrives

Source: Government of Canada

If you are concerned about your own drug use

There are many non-judgmental and confidential supports available to you on or off campus. An important first step to a healthier life or recovery is reaching out for help.


Naloxone is a medication that reverses overdose caused by opioids and can save a person’s life. It does not work on overdose caused by drugs other than opioids. The purpose of a take-home naloxone program is to get naloxone into the hands of people who are most likely to be there during an opioid overdose as minutes and seconds count to save a life.

The University has a take-home naloxone program. Please contact Bryanna Barker to learn about how to obtain a free naloxone kit.

Naloxone kits can save lives

There have been a significant number of overdoses and deaths related to legal and illicit fentanyl use across Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada. Even if a person does not choose to use the drug fentanyl, fentanyl is being cut in or laced into other drugs such as cocaine, oxycodone, heroin and other club drugs such as MDMA without the user knowing. This is especially dangerous for first-time or occasional drug users. 

There are many places you can access naloxone throughout Manitoba. The Street Connections website has a tool that can help you find a location close to you.

Where to get your own Naxolone kit

Naloxone kits are available for purchase by anyone, without a prescription, at several locations around Winnipeg and Manitoba. The primary goal of naloxone programs are to keep everybody safe and healthy. No one will be notified that you have received a kit, and your information stays entirely confidential.

It is best if you comes in with another person who is close to the user (partner, roommate, family member) who is likely to be present if they overdose. These other people will also be offered training on how to respond to opioid overdose but will not be given a kit.

Individuals who have health coverage under First Nations Inuit Health are eligible for free naloxone kits from locations that are selling them. Consult the pharmacy for more information.

Learn more about fentanyl and preventing or responding to overdose

Who we are

If you are looking for more personalized health information please contact Bryanna Barker, Coordinator, Student Health and Wellness Education.

Bryanna Barker
Coordinator, Student Health and Wellness Education

Contact Us

Health and Wellness
Room 469 UMSU University Centre 
65 Chancellor’s Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)  
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.