Prevalence of Use of Drugs Other Than Cannabis Among Youth in Canada

"The reported prevalence of drugs (other than alcohol and cannabis) such as cocaine or heroin among students is relatively rare. That said, provinces routinely measure use of these substances. British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario estimates are for lifetime use. Atlantic provinces, Québec and the YSS [Youth Smoking Survey] ask about use in the past 12 months. Therefore, the two sets of prevalence estimates are presented separately in different tables. In addition to the different time frames used in the survey questions, there is also considerable variation in the terminology used in referring to these drugs as noted where appropriate in the tables below.
"All the surveys ask about ecstasy. Estimates for ecstasy use range from 3.4–7.2% reporting past-12-month use
and 4.4–7.1% reporting lifetime use (Tables 43 and 44). Following ecstasy, inhalants are second overall in reported
use with estimates ranging from 2.6–4.4% for past-year use and 2.2–3.8% for lifetime use. However, not all surveys ask about use of inhalants; some ask about ‘solvents’ or ‘glue’. These differences in terminology result in different prevalence estimates (Tables 45 and 46). Estimates for steroid use range from 1.4–1.7% for past-12-month use and 1.2–1.4% for lifetime use (Tables 47 and 48). Estimates for lifetime heroin use in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario range from 0.8–1.3% (Table 49). Atlantic Canada does not ask students about heroin use. The YSS asks about past-12-month use of heroin [1.3% (1.0, 1.6)]."


Young, M.M., Saewyc, E., Boak, A., Jahrig, J., Anderson, B., Doiron, Y., Taylor, S., Pica, L., Laprise, P., and Clark, H. (Student Drug Use Surveys Working Group) (2011). Cross-Canada report on student alcohol and drug use: Technical report. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, p. 28.