How many young people are using opioids?
Main Page Content
In recent years, prescription opioids used non-medicinally have replaced tobacco as the fourth most commonly used drug among Ontario teens (at about 10%), behind alcohol, marijuana, and e-cigarettes. According to results from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), younger students, particularly those in grades 7 and 8, are misusing opioids in greater numbers than marijuana. Misuse peaks in grade 12, when 13% of students reported using opioid medication without a prescription in the last year.
The 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey reported that 10% of students in grades 7 to 12 had used a prescription opioid pain reliever for non-medical purposes (9.6% among males and 10.4% among females).
In the 2014–2015 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey (CSTADS), 1.6% of Canadian students in grades 7 to 9 and 3.5% of students in grades 10 to 12 reported past-year use of pain relievers to get high and not for medical purposes. A similar proportion of males and females in grades 7 through 12 reported past-year use of pain relievers to get high (2.5% and 2.6% respectively). Among students in grades 7 and 8, 8.3% reported past-year prescription opioid pain reliever use for non-medical purposes, compared to 10.6% of students in grades 9 to 12.