The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse has released their annual report, which brings together surveys of drug use among teens from the various provinces. What’s most startling is the risky behaviours Grade 12 students are engaging in before driving. Depending on the province:
—up to 20 per cent report driving within an hour of having two or more drinks
—up to 38 per cent report being a passenger with a driver who was drinking
—up to 20 per cent report being a passenger with a driver who had “too much to drink”
—up to 21 per cent report driving within an hour of using cannabis
Clearly young people need to plan safer rides home.
There were also interesting, if less shocking, findings about teen drug and alcohol use in general. The study looked at students in grades seven, nine, 10 and 12 and found that the amount of teens who had drank alcohol at least once in their lifetimes ranged from 52 per cent of Albertan teens to 70 per cent of Newfoundland teens. Those figures climb as high as 90 per cent by twelfth grade.
Binge drinking varies by province too. Twenty per cent of Albertan teens had consumed five or more drinks on at least one occasion in the month before the survey, compared to 30 per cent of Newfoundland teens.
Prevalence of lifetime cannabis use also varies widely, from 21 per cent of Albertan teens to 37 per cent of Nova Scotian teens. Anyone else noticing a geographic pattern here?
Young women and young men appear to have tried Cannabis in almost equal numbers, though young men are more likely to report using cannabis daily or driving after using cannabis.
Interestingly, only a tiny minority of Canadian youth have taken drugs other than alcohol or cannabis. Only five to seven per cent report having taken ecstasy (a.k.a. MDMA) and that was the most commonly reported drug after alcohol and Cannabis. Only three to four per cent report having used cocaine or the hallucinogen LSD. Only one per cent say they have tried heroin.