Drug use rising, experts say

Drug use among teenagers has risen dramatically in recent years, according to the Addiction Research Foundation.

Marijuana use increased 79 per cent between 1993 and 1995, a survey done by the foundation showed.

Use of Ecstasy and methamphetamines increased 130 per cent and 200 per cent respectively, according to the Ontario Student Drug Use Survey of 3,870 Grade 7 to Grade 13 students.

“In 1995, we found that almost 23 per cent of Ontario students had used drugs, compared to 12.7 per cent in 1993,” says Craig Smith, the foundation’s communications supervisor.

The increased strength of some drugs on the market is a concern, according to Richard Garlick, communications director of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. For example, marijuana is more potent now because it’s grown hydroponically.

“Ecstasy is a concern because of the lifestyle associated with it – raves, frenetic dancing in closed quarters where people get overheated and die,” says Garlick.

Acceleration, an organic drug that’s popular at raves, contains Ephedra and can cause heart attacks and even death when combined with weight-loss products containing caffeine.

There have been no reported deaths in Canada attributed to drug use at raves.

Organic or herbal drugs, which are illegal to sell but not to possess, are advertised at raves as natural, safer and less potent. But “there are a lot of toxic herbs and there is certainly the potential for a death down the road from these potent drugs,” warns Micheline Ho, a spokesperson for the health protection branch of Health Canada.

For more information about illegal substances, call the Addiction Research Foundation at (416) 595-6111 or 1-800-463-6273, or the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse at (613) 235-4048.

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About Shelly Sanders

Shelly (represented by Amy Tipton, Signature Literary Agency) is the author of THE RACHEL TRILOGY--Rachel's Secret, Rachel's Promise & Rachel's Hope (Second Story Press).Rachel's Secret received a Starred Review in Booklist and was named a Notable Read from the Association of Jewish Libraries. Rachel's Hope was shortlisted for the Vine Awards for Canadian Literature in 2016. Before turning to fiction, Shelly was a freelance journalist for the Toronto Star, National Post, Maclean's, and Canadian Living.
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