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article imageOntario Reports Growing Number of Students Abusing Painkillers

By Nathalie Caron     Nov 20, 2007 in Health
The latest Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey reveals that while the use of narcotics is overall steady, more students are taking prescription painkillers. One in five students admits to have taken pain medication, often obtained at home.
Coinciding with the National Drug and Addictions Awareness Week, which runs from November 18 to 24, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) today released its annual survey of drug use for Ontario students.
The study (PDF document) has found that 21 per cent of students admitted to using prescription painkiller, such as Percocet, Percodan, Tylenol 3, Demerol, OxyContin or codeine, which were not prescribed to them. Just over three in four user of prescription pain medication obtained these drugs at home.
Canadian Press reports
that while there has been a general decline in reported use of narcotics by Ontario high school students over the past decade, 26 per cent of students still reported using cannabis at least once in the past year.
Alcohol continues to be the substance of choice for students, as 61 per cent reported drinking. Also, one in four students admit they are likely to binge drink, defined as the consumption of at least five drinks in one sitting.
Another interesting finding is that a surprisingly large number of students, 15 per cent, admitted having been intoxicated while at school. Incidences of intoxication at school jump to 24 per cent for grade 12 students.
The survey conducted by the Institute for Social Research, York University and commissioned by CAMH, interviewed over 6000 students from grade 7 to 12, during the 2006-2007 school year. It is conducted every second year.
In its 30th year, OSDUHS is Canada's longest systematic study of alcohol and drug use among youth, and the second-longest in North America.
What should we think of these figures? Should schools take stronger action to educate students about the risks of drug abuse? How do you prevent your teenager from picking at your prescription pills?
More about Drug abuse, High school students, Ontario
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