Good news, bad news.
Substance abuse by Ontario teens is down. Drinking, smoking and pot use among Grades 9 to 12 students is at its lowest rate since the late 70s says the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – a sign messaging about the dangers of such is getting through. In the last 20 years, the proportion of students who reported ingesting alcohol dropped to almost 43 percent from 66 percent, while smoking rates fell to seven percent from 28 percent, and cannabis use dropped to 19 percent from 28 percent. Robert Mann, a senior scientist at CAMH and co-author of the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, added “One of the things we also see is that the onset of (substance) use is being delayed until later years. Now the onset tends to occur in later grades.” There is work to do, however, in terms of fentanyl use. Despite reports of hundreds of overdose deaths from the opioid, one percent of teens surveyed (5800 students) said say they’ve used it in the last year.
“That’s a small proportion, but this is a very hazardous drug and these people are taking quite an extreme risk in using this drug,” said Mann. “It’s very dangerous because a very, very small amount can result in overdose or even overdose-related deaths.” About 900 Ontarians died from drug overdoses last year – a substantial portion related to fentanyl.
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