The substance use profile of Canadian youth: exploring the prevalence of alcohol, drug and tobacco use by gender and grade

Addict Behav. 2012 Mar;37(3):318-22. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.10.007. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


The current study examined the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and drug use and comorbid use of these substances among 45,425 students in grades 7 to 12 as part of the 2008-09 Canadian Youth Smoking Survey. The results of this paper suggest that alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and illicit drugs are currently used by a substantial number of youth in Canada, and that comorbid use is also very widespread among users. Alcohol was the most prevalent substance used by youth and it was rare to find youth who had used tobacco or drugs without also currently using alcohol. By grade 12, the majority of students were current users of alcohol, tobacco or drugs. Future research should consider developing a better understanding of how to prevent substance use among this population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Age Distribution
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires