Menu Follow

Youth Addiction

Youth Substance Abuse Is Widespread


Alcohol and drugs are a reality in high schools and communities across the country.

In fact, drug use in Ontario is amongst the highest in the world. A good portion of that drug use turns into major health problems. The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey 2011, pulled together by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health talks about problems with binge drinking and dependence on cannabis and other drugs.

At the time the survey was taken, it was discovered that:

  • 40% of Grade 12 students reported binge drinking within the prior month
  • As grade increases, so does the likelihood of hazardous/harmful drinking peaking in grades 11 and 12 at about 30%
  • At least 4 weeks before the survey, 13%, roughly 130,200 grade 7 – 12 students used cannabis with 2% using on a daily basis accounting for 23,300 students in Ontario
  • In the past year, roughly 5% or 51,300 youth in Ontario smoke cigarettes, use alcohol, cannabis and at least one other drug
  • About 8% of students only use alcohol and cannabis; about 7% use alcohol, cannabis and another drug

These youth reported on in the survey are those within the school system. It is important to note that the majority of youth that come through the doors of the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre have been expelled from school, dropped out or are experiencing homelessness.

The highest at-risk group for youth addiction are those with mental health issues or those who come from abusive homes and/or have parent(s) with their own addiction issues. At the intersection of drugs, alcohol and mental health issues are our most vulnerable population – youth.