Teen drug use decreasing but thousands have used fentanyl


A biennial survey of Grade 7 to 12 students suggests Ontario adolescents are drinking, smoking and using cannabis and other recreational drugs at the lowest rates since the late 1970s.

Robert Mann, a Centre for Addiction and Mental Health senior scientist and study co-author, says the declines are a positive sign that young people are getting the public health messaging about the harms of such substances.

But the 2017 survey also says one per cent of respondents in Grades 9 to 12 reported having taken illicit fentanyl in the previous year - a figure equivalent to about 5,800 students across the province.

Mann says it's a small portion, but the youths are taking quite an extreme risk since a very small amount can result in overdose.

He notes that 900 Ontarians died from drug overdoses last year, with a "substantial portion" related to fentanyl.