What’s the deal with the Rise of Drug Abuse among Teens everywhere, esp. Canada?

Reading through a journal, I was shocked to find summaries with “above average percentages” of youths and Teens using drugs! And in most cases these polled numbers are usually lower than the actual number of teens using drugs. What is the problem with the world? Where are we heading, if over 83% Teens are alcoholics, and more than 42% are using illicit substances in Ontario alone, will we have a responsible population in the next 20 years? I wonder, but the million dollar question is: Why?

Only in Canada, Look at these statistics, and you’ll understand my dismay:

Here are some Canadian statistics on drug and alcohol abuse:

  • 47,000 Canadian deaths are linked to substance abuse annually.
    —  Health Officer’s Council of British Columbia
  • 23% of Ontario students report that they were offered, sold, or given a drug at school in the last year. That’s about 219,000 students.
  • 42% of Ontario students surveyed have used an illicit substance in the last year.
  • 83% of Ontario students in grade 12 drink alcohol. 49% of gr. 12 students admit to binge drinking.
  • The top four substances used by Ontario students: 58% alcohol; Cannabis (marijuana) 25%; Non-prescribed use of prescription pain relievers such as codeine, Percocet, Percodan, Demerol, or  Tylenol #3, 17%; Tobacco 11.7%.   CENTRE FOR ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH
  • In a 2008 study, 23% of 14 year-olds and 70% of 17 year-olds in Saskatchewan reported drinking 5 or more drinks within a 2-hour period at least once in the past month.
    GOVERNMENT OF SASKATCHEWAN – DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
  • Street youth are 11 times more likely to die of drug overdose and suicide.
    PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA
  • Substance abuse has cost our health care system $8 billion.
    —  Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Female addicts are 54% more likely to die prematurely because of their drug use.
    —  University of Toronto
    B.C. Bud (marijuana) crops generate an estimated $5 to $7 billion annually.
    —  Edmonton Journal
  • CSIS estimates there are roughly 950 organized criminal groups active in Canada (and about 80 per cent derive revenues from illegal drug sales).
    Edmonton Journal
  • 14 gangs currently operate within the borders of Toronto’s Division 12.
    — Toronto Star
  • Canada’s illegal drug trade hit a 30-year high in 2007.
    — Financial Post
    For every $5 spent on drug rehabilitation by the Canadian government, $95 is spent on incarceration of drug users.
    — Health Officer’s Council of BC
  • 60% of illicit drug users in Canada are between the ages of 15 and 24.
    — Statistics Canada
  • 10% of night time drivers showed evidence of drug use while only 8.1% tested positive for alcohol.
    — Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Pedestrians under the influence of alcohol accounted for 12.3% of alcohol related road deaths in Canada.
    — Traffic Injury Research Foundation
  • UN Office on Drugs and Crime found 16.8% of Canadians aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana or used other cannabis products.
    — CBC News
  • One out of every three high school kids in Ontario who is smoking is choosing to buy his cigarettes from, basically, a criminal.
    — Canadian Press
  • A recent national survey found that between 1994 and 2004, the proportion of Canadians who reported having used an illicit drug in their lifetime rose from 28% to 45%.
    — Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Among the over 100,000 drug-related incidents identified by police in 2007, 62% involved cannabis. Of these, three-quarters were for possession.
    — Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • In its 2008 annual report on organized crime, Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC) states that Canada has become one of the primary source countries in the world for ecstasy.
    — Statistics Canada
  • In 2007, the police-reported rate of drug offences in Canada reached its highest point in 30 years.
    — Statistics Canada
  • In 2006/2007, about half of all drug-related court cases were stayed, withdrawn, dismissed or discharged.
    — Statistics Canada
  • When asked about their specific crime worries, 52% of those polled said they were “very concerned” about drug activity.
    — National Post
  • About one Ontario student in 50 (2%) said he or she had used crack at least once in the past year. This is about 19,300 students.
    — Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Children of addicts are up to 9 times more likely to develop an addiction of their own.
    — Web4Health
  • In 2005, about one Ontario student in 20 (4.4%) in grades 7 to 12 said he or she had used cocaine at least once in the past year. This is almost 43,000 students.
    — Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Between 1991 and 2007, opioid-related deaths doubled in Ontario.
    — Globe and Mail
  • Oxycodone prescriptions (known by brand names Oxycontin & Percocet) have increased 850% in 10 years.
    — Globe and Mail

It keeps me wondering, where do teens admire these acts from, and where are the parents, do they know about what’s happening?

Regular User Asked on November 5, 2018 in Drugs.
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2 Answer(s)

Thank you Gerald for sharing your knowledge with us. I am shocked. I have been working in the filled of addiction in the US for 15 years and I had no clue whatsoever that the drug and alcohol epidemic we are encountering in the US was also a Canadian problem. I always thought that this problem was mostly a US problem due to our broken society and stronger overall economics compared with other countries. I always thought that Canada – with its strong public service and its social health care system available to all Canadian citizens – had a more efficient infrastructure in place to fight addiction. Obviously, I was wrong.

After doing a little research, it looks like Canada is having the exact same root causes with its addiction problems that we are encountering here in the US: a fractured society where the family nucleus is broken or non-existent, absence of father figures and good role models, lack of morals and good values, idolization of the wrong behaviors, less spiritual and godly presence in families, lack of respect for each others, etc. I could go on forever.

Gerald you are right, it all starts with the parents/families and what kind of role models and what values we want to show our kids.

Super User Answered on November 6, 2018.
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These numbers are indeed shocking! this leaves a resounding question as stated by Gerald, “What kind of people are we expecting to have in the next 20 years, if the trend keeps progressing like this?”. I think however, if we are to find a solution, we’ll need to go back to the basics. The addiction problem needs to be uprooted right from families in children at tender ages. These are dark scary topics we always try to shield our children from, and by doing so, we think we are protecting them – but guess what, wherever these children spend most of their time, in schools and other public areas – bad people are not afraid to bring up the subject to them, convincing and persuading them into alcoholism and other substance abuse. By the time we think the child is old enough to face a lesson on substance abuse, they are already hooked onto usage of such addictive and destructive substances.

Parents have a huge role to play here. You have to decide whether it weighs more to not confront your child with such a dark topic at a tender age or to suddenly find-out they are already using by the time you’re comfortable to teach them what to do. Sometimes it’s not about teaching them, but keenly studying what they are going through while they grow up. A child needs to know that you love them, care and want them to be successful in life. This generation is much different from the previous century. Our children are faced with a lot of material and content we never used to have in the twentieth century, there was adequate community wide responsibility to care for children and shield them from things that they are not yet old enough to face. Today, TV shows, people’s life styles, and numerous celebrities are our children role models, and these are not always good ones. No child can succeed in life without a guiding force, stronger and more persuasive than the forces of derailment. Speak to your children, spare quality time and be there for them.

For the public sector, let’s borrow a leaf on how to administer enforcement and punishment for possession and usage of drugs in a humanly possible but deservedly aggressive manner. Not all addicts love what and who they’ve become, but the first time temptation was enough to hook them on for life. Normally, there’s no clear way back home. We need to break these early temptations that face teens, aged 13 and above – and we need to start that now.

Moderator Answered on November 6, 2018.
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