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Girls going to pot: Study

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NOT all high school kids are getting the message -- just say no to drugs.
More and more teenage girls are trying pot for the first time but the number
of teenage boys trying weed is still higher.

"In males, it's about 31%. In females, it's 28% that indicated use at least
once in their life," said Dr. Edward Adlaf, senior researcher at the Centre
for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

The results are part of the 2003 Ontario Student Drug Survey, which Adlaf
co-authored. The survey was released yesterday.

It's the longest ongoing study of adolescent drug use in Canada and is based
on 14 surveys every two years since 1977.

Some 6,616 students from Grades 7-12 at 126 schools across the province
participated in the survey. In Eastern Ontario, 1,000 youth took part,
including students from Ottawa, Renfrew and Lanark-area schools.

"Rates were very close to the provincial average,"Adlaf said.

The survey also shows binge drinking -- having five or more drinks in one
sitting -- has stayed at the same level, with no decline from 26% in 2003.


Adlaf said it's the older teens, those in Grades 11 and 12, who are
binge-drinking more often, with 6% of Grade 7 students reporting high
drinking compared to 45% of Grade 11 and 12 students.

"The students are older, they become more experimental and there's a lot
more exposure (to alcohol)," Adlaf said.

Use of ecstasy in youth has dropped from 6% to about 4% between 2001 and
2003. Also, the escalating trend of illicit drug use which began in the
early 1990s has subsided.

"Raising awareness is one important influence," Adlaf said, adding media
attention to deaths related to ecstasy has helped get the message out on the
dangers of the drug.

But while the coverage heightened awareness of ecstasy, he said there isn't
enough talk about the effects of cocaine use.

While cocaine and crack use decreased in the 1980s, it's on an upward trend
and has been since 1999.

Adlaf attributes this trend to perceptions that the dangers of illicit
drugs -- except ecstasy -- have been declining, while the availability of
those drugs increases.

He said it was equally important to monitor areas which are showing

"One example would be cigarette use," he said, explaining 14% of teens
surveyed smoke daily, while 22% did in 2001.

Pubdate: Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Contact: oped@ott.sunpub.com
Website: Under Construction fyiottawa.com
Author: Nelly Elayoubi
Study Cited: http://www.camh.net/pdf/OSDUS03-drugdetail-final.pdf