PEI

Marijuana use up slightly among P.E.I. students: report

A report on student drug use in P.E.I. shows marijuana use has increased slightly among students in Grades 7 to 12.

Alcohol is the most prevalent drug, but use is down from 4 years ago

A report on student drug use shows marijuana use has increased slightly among students in Grades 7 to 12.

Twenty-two per cent of the students who took part reported taking a toke in the last 12 months.

It's a number that has increased from under 18 per cent back in 2008.

"Any substance misuse among youth is a concern and it is important to make this information available to parents, communities, and those who work with youth," said Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer.

"I encourage people to read the report online and talk to their children about the harms associated with substance misuse."

The report shows 24 per cent of students reported using at least one drug in the last 12 months. Of those, 37 per cent said they used more than one drug.

Some of the other drugs students are using include both prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers, hallucinogens, MDMA (ecstasy) and cocaine. The percentages for those drugs decreased or remained about the same.

The use of salvia (an illicit hallucingenic plant) is down to 1.3 per cent, a decrease from 2.9 per cent. Solvent use and prescription drug use have decreased since 2010-11.

The report says students who reported using drugs also reported less emotional well-being and lower grades.

Although the report shows alcohol use is dropping, it is still the most prevalent drug.

The reports shows 39 per cent of P.E.I. students reported having more than a sip in the last year.

That's a decline from 46 per cent in 2008.

Of the students who reported having a sip, 81 per cent reported binge drinking. This number did not change from 2008.

The student drug use report also showed that smoking rates remain steady at about eight per cent.

Provincial epidemiologist Dr. Carolyn Sanford said tracking the prevalence and trends of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among students is important for several reasons. 

"Not surprisingly, students that report using substances show lower self-esteem, emotional well-being and academic achievement, and higher bullying behaviours than students that report not using substances," Sanford said.     

In the healthy living category, 85 per cent of students said they exceeded the daily recommended screen time of two hours. Those same students reported lower self-esteem and lower marks.

When it came to bullying, 24 per cent said they had been bullied in the month before and 11 per cent admitted to bullying.

Only 12 per cent of students reported getting at least 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity a day over the last week. 

Substance Use in P.E.I. students, Grades 7 to 12
2012-2013 2008-2009
Alcohol 38.8% 45.7%
Cannabis 20.7% 17.9%
Other drugs 10%
Tobacco 8% 8%

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