Canadian teen substance abuse statistics are enough to give even the most trusting parent a surge of anxiety. Teenagers are more vulnerable than adults to substance abuse and risky behaviours because their brains aren’t fully developed yet. Teen brains don’t handle stress as well as adult brains. Not only are teens more susceptible to making poor decisions and substance abuse but mental health problems like depression. All parents must remain diligent throughout the teen years to make sure their children haven’t developed substance abuse problems. It can happen to any teen even if you consider your child a “good kid.”
More and More Teens Abuse Alcohol as They Get Older
According to teen substance abuse statistics, by the time Canadian students are in the 12th grade, the majority of them are drinking alcohol. 83% of 12th-grade students in Ontario admitted to drinking alcohol with 49% confessing they binge drink.
Another study found that 70% of 17-year-olds in Saskatchewan drank at least five alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period within the past 30 days. 23% of the 14-year-olds surveyed reported they drank this much within the past 30 days.
Where do teenagers get alcohol? Some steal it from their parents. Others buy it from criminals on the street. According to the CSIS, there are around 950 organized criminal groups, and the majority of these criminal groups earn money through illegal drug sales.
How Many Students Are Offered Drugs at School?
Canadian students are sometimes offered, sold or given drugs while at school. 23% of students in Ontario said they were offered drugs at school within the past year at the time they were surveyed.
Parents must teach their teenagers how to turn down drugs and alcohol and avoid giving in to peer pressure. This will help decrease the chance your child tries drugs when they are offered whether it’s from a friend or someone at school.
If you suspect it’s too late and your child is already using drugs, you can schedule a 30-day assessment and intervention at Venture Academy. We have high success rates in helping teenagers stop substance abuse and improve their relationships with their parents. For lasting change, we recommend you enroll your child in our substance abuse treatment center.
The Four Most Abused Substances
What substances should you watch out for? Alcohol, marijuana, non-prescribed prescription pain relievers and tobacco are most abused substances by Canadian teenagers. Common prescription pain relievers that Canadian teenagers abuse are codeine, Percodan, Percocet, Demerol, and Tylenol.
Get into the habit of talking to your teenager when they return home. This gives you the chance to look at their eyes and smell them. If they have been drinking or smoking, you’ll be able to smell it while having a conversation with them. Their eyes may also be red or heavy-lidded. Dilated pupils are another sign to look for, but this one doesn’t necessarily mean they have been taking drugs as other things can cause a person’s pupils to dilate. If your teen has been smoking marijuana, their pupils may be constricted rather than dilated.
Other signs to watch for that indicate drug or alcohol use:
- Red, flushed face
- Difficulty focusing
- Mood changes
- Unusually clumsy
- Damage to the car that they didn’t tell you about
- Vagueness when they tell you where they’re going
When searching their room for drugs and drug paraphernalia, remember to check:
- Inside empty candy bags
- Under the bed
- Beneath clothes
- Between clothes
- Any type of video game, DVD or CD cases
- Any boxes, including pencil boxes and jewelry boxes
- Duffel bags, backpacks, purses
Additional Teen Substance Abuse Statistics
Almost half of Ontario students admitted to using an illicit substance within the past year. The youth accounts for the majority of illicit drug users in Canada. 60% of Canada’s drug users are 15-24 years old.
The average age a Canadian teen starts using drugs is 15.7. Children may start younger or older than that, so it’s important to stay aware of your teen’s behaviour. Know the warning signs of substance abuse in teenagers to catch it as soon as possible if your child begins using drugs or alcohol.
Street youth and children of addicts are especially susceptible to substance abuse problems with street youth being 11 times more likely than non-street youth to die from overdose and suicide. Depression and other mental health problems increase the likelihood of substance abuse. A child of an addict is nine times more likely to become addicted to something.
Teen Substance Abuse Treatment
Drug and alcohol use among Canadian teens is high, so parents must do their best to protect their teens from becoming another statistic. If you have found out your teen is doing drugs or drinking alcohol, it’s important to find a good teen substance abuse treatment facility. They will need counseling from experts in substance abuse for the highest chance of overcoming the problem.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve found out your child has a substance abuse problem. There is hope in getting your teen back on track to living a happy, successful life. Contact us at 855.281.5813 to discuss how we can help your teenager quit drugs and overcome any other mental health issues they may be struggling with. We take a compassionate, holistic approach to helping troubled teens.