Alcohol and other drug use by young people is a frequent concern among adults. Most people know someone who has suffered problems from misuse of alcohol or other drugs. They worry that any use during the teen years will lead to addiction.
There is a widespread perception that drugs are easier to get now than ever before, even in school, and that more teens are trying drugs at younger and younger ages. Every so often, media stories raise the alarm about an epidemic of illegal drug use among teenagers, whether of cannabis (marijuana), ecstasy or crystal meth.
Are these perceptions accurate, or are they myths? How common is substance use among adolescents, and is it increasing? Should we be worried about drug use among teens? Why do they use drugs anyway?
The BC Adolescent Health Survey (BC AHS), conducted in high schools by the McCreary Centre Society every five years, can help provide answers to these questions.