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Big drop in drug use among teens

Cigarette smoking plummets

Photo by austinanomic on Flickr

A survey administered to nearly 10,000 teens in Ontario shows big drops in the use of most drugs when compared to similar teens 12 years ago.

The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey found an especially encouraging drop in the number of students who smoke cigarettes. In 1999, 28 per cent of students in grades seven to 12 said they smoked in the past year and 22 per cent smoked at least one cigarette daily. In 2011, only nine per cent said they smoked in the past year and only four per cent said they smoked daily. The rates are higher in northern Ontario, where eight per cent smoked daily in 2011.

Past year use of alcohol also declined, from 66 per cent to 55 per cent, as did binge drinking. However, the study’s authors note that one-third of teens who drink do so hazardously.

Past year Cannabis use fell from 28 per cent to 22 per cent of students surveyed.?

The use of psychedelic/hallucinogenic drugs dropped too. LSD (acid) use fell from 6.8 per cent to 1.2 per cent. Psilocybin mushrooms and/or mescaline use fell from 12.8 per cent to 3.8 per cent.

Methamphetamine use fell dramatically from 5.1 per cent to one per cent.

Cocaine use was also down somewhat from 3.4 per cent to 2.1 per cent.

Even the non-medical use of prescription painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet and Tyleonol 3 improved. Use was reported by 14 per cent in 2011, compared to 21 per cent four years ago.

The OSDUHS was administered to 9,288 students aged 12 to 18 by York University’s Institute for Social Research. The survey is a project of The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

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