Quick Facts

  • 60% of illicit drug users are 15-24 years old[LR1] (Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse [CCSA])
  • 4.4% of Canadians meet the criteria for addiction (CCSA, 2012)
  • 8% of Canadian youth report alcohol or drug dependency (Health Canada, 2011)
  • 1 in 6 (17%) of adolescent marijuana users become dependent (CCSA, 2006)
  • 23% of Canadian youth report using marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis (CCSA, 2010)

33,650 people sought treatment for addiction in Alberta in 2012

In 2012–2013, 33,650 unique individuals accessed publicly funded specialized treatment services in Alberta; of which 83.5% were new cases.

The majority of individuals accessing treatment services (87.2%) were seeking treatment for their own substance use problems. However, 4,311 individuals accessed specialized treatment services for a friend or family member during the 2012–2013 fiscal year, which accounts for 12.8% of the entire population of unique clients.[CCSA National Treatment Indicators 2015]

According to UNICEF, Canadian children 11-15 are the #1 users of cannabis in the world

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Widespread use of alcohol amongst high school students (Grades 7–12)

Based on data from the 2012–2013 Youth Smoking survey, past-year self-reported use of alcohol among students increases substantially with each grade level, from an estimated 8% among students in grade seven to 67% among those in grade 12. In 2012– 2013, the overall prevalence of alcohol use in the past 12 months decreased to 41% compared to the 45% recorded in 2010–2011.
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First time using alcohol

Data from the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring survey (CADUMS) indicates that the average age of initiation for the consumption of alcohol was significantly delayed from 15.6 years in 2004 to 16.2 years in 2012.
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Risky drinking prevalent amongst post-secondary students

Data from the 2013 National College Health Assessment Survey indicates that 36% of post-secondary students drank more than four drinks on a single occasion at least once in the past two weeks. ( The data was drawn from a convenience sample of 32 post-secondary institutions and therefore not representative of all post-secondary students in Canada.) Risky drinking in the last two weeks was more prevalent among male students (41%) than among female students (33%). (Note: the rate for female students would be higher if the more accepted measure of more than three drinks on a single occasion were used to identify risky drinking).