Page last updated: February 4, 2013

Survey finds young adults more likely to smoke cannabis than drink before driving

The 2011 CAMH Monitor survey of Ontario substance use trends, released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that most adults are drinking responsibly, and fewer are smoking or using illicit substances - but several areas of concern were found .

“More young adults are reporting that they drive within an hour of using cannabis - even more than those who report drinking and driving,” says Dr. Robert Mann, CAMH Senior Scientist and lead researcher. “Yet the risks of doing so are significant.” 9% of 18- to 29-year-olds report driving after cannabis use, versus 6% in this age range who report drinking two or more drinks and driving.

The 2011 CAMH Monitor, which included 3,039 adults aged 18 or older from across Ontario, is the longest ongoing survey of adult substance use in Canada.

Cannabis users are also aging, the survey found. Those aged 50 or older now account for 16% of all adult users of cannabis, which is five times higher than in 1977.

Most Ontario adults report drinking alcohol in the past year (81%), but the majority do not drink excessively. Alcohol use is a concern when there are harmful drinking patterns, which occur in certain groups.

“Women are drinking more than in the past,” says Dr. Mann. “Several key drinking indicators show an increase among women.” 6% of women reported a pattern of drinking daily in 2011, compared to 3% in 1998. About 8% of women were drinking in ways that were hazardous or harmful, up from 5% in 1998.

Overall,  9% of Ontario drinkers reported binge drinking (defined as consuming five or more drinks at one time) each week.  The survey also showed that the average number of drinks consumed weekly has increased, as has the number of drinkers overall who report daily drinking.

Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (2012, November 28). Young adults more likely to smoke cannabis than drink before driving, survey of Canadians shows.

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