By Monica Nunes, CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre
On June 5, the CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre and EEnet co-hosted a webinar to share the findings of the 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS) results. Conducted every two years since 1977, the OSDUHS asks Ontario students in Grades 7 to 12 about topics that include drug use and related harms, drug perceptions, mental health and physical health.
Led by CAMH, the OSDUHS is the longest ongoing student survey in Canada. Data from the OSDUHS is analyzed and shared as two different reports: one is the drug use report and the second is the mental health and well-being report. The focus of this past webinar was the drug use report.
The webinar began with Tamar Meyer (CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre) and Novella Martinello (CAMH Provincial System Support Program) sharing a summary of various drug use trends. Tamar and Novella reported on:
- Overall drug use by students in 2013
- Long term trends from 1977-2013
- Early initiation in drug use trends
- Some drug specific highlights
- Vehicle-related risks associated with drug use
- Drug use and the school context
Following their summary, Tamar and Novella led a panel discussion with members of the OSDUHS research team including Dr. Bob Mann (Senior Scientist, Social and Epidemiological Research Department, CAMH), Dr. Hayley Hamilton (Research Scientist Social and Epidemiological Research Department, CAMH) and Angela Boak (Research Coordinator and Analyst Social and Epidemiological Research Department, CAMH) as well as with Gloria Chaim (Deputy Clinical Director of the Child, Youth and Family Program ,CAMH). The panelists identified positive findings in the survey results as well as areas of public health concerns.
(From left to right): Monica Nunes (HPRC-PSSP), Dr. Hayley Hamilton (OSDUHS team), Tamar Meyer (HPRC-PSSP), Novella Martinello (East Region-PSSP), Dr. Robert Mann (OSDUHS team), Angela Yip (EENet-PSSP)
Highlights of their reflections are below:
- There have been long term declines in alcohol use and tobacco use.
- Use of illicit drugs such as cannabis is also on downward trend.
- Prevention programs which aim to delay initiation of substance use have shown progress. For example, students today use substances starting at an older age.
- A significant number of students are still smoking or using tobacco with devices such as hookahs or electronic cigarettes whose health impacts are not yet fully known.
- Students that drink alcohol are drinking in hazardous ways such as by binge drinking or mixing alcohol with energy drinks.
- More students are driving after cannabis use than after drinking alcohol.
- Over-the-counter medications are the only drug that shows an increase in use since 1999. 10% of students reported using over-the-counter medications to get high in the past year.
To hear more about these drug use trends, you can view the full webinar recording here: http://camh.adobeconnect.com/p8tna7np768/ and download the presentations slides here. You can also read about the latest OSDUHS findings and reports on CAMH's website.
Finally, join us for the second webinar in this series, Part 2: Evidence to Action by signing up here.