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Open Access Illicit Drug Use Among Canadian University Undergraduates

La consommation de drogues illicites chez les étudiants canadiens du premier cycle

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The purpose of this study was to examine rates and patterns of illicit drug use among Canadian university undergraduates, to compare these rates with those for non-university samples, and to describe drug-use trends among university undergraduates in the province of Ontario between 1988 and 1998. A national mail survey was carried out based on a stratified 2-stage sample design. The sample comprised 7,800 Canadian undergraduates from 16 universities (52% of eligible respondents). Approximately 47.5% reported use of an illicit drug during their life, 29.6% in the previous 12 months, and 18.7% since the beginning of the academic year. Cannabis was by far the most widely used drug (47.0%, 28.7%, and 18.2%, respectively). Many of the gender and regional associations were similar to those found in general-population surveys. Comparisons to non-university peers did not indicate elevated rates among university students. Among Ontario university undergraduates the use of cannabis, hallucinogens, methamphetamines, crack, and heroin remained stable between 1988 and 1998. The use of cocaine declined from 4.8% to 1.7%. Rates of illicit drug use were not appreciably higher than those among their non-university peers. Other public-health issues, such as heavy drinking and poor mental health, override those related to illicit drug use.

Cette recherche vise à identifier les taux et les pratiques de consommation de drogues illicites chez les étudiants canadiens du premier cycle, à les comparer à ceux de la population non universitaire et à décrire les tendances concernant la consommation de drogues chez les étudiants du premier cycle dans la province d'Ontario, entre 1988 et 1998. Une enquête postale a été menée à l'échelle nationale, selon une méthode à échantillonnage stratifié exécutée en deux étapes. L'échantillonnage comprenait 7800 étudiants canadiens du premier cycle, de 16 universités (52 % de répondants admissibles). Environ 47,5 % ont dit avoir consommé une drogue illicite au cours de leur vie, 29,6 % l'ayant consommée au cours des 12 derniers mois et 18,7 % depuis le début de l'année scolaire. Le cannabis était de loin la drogue la plus consommée (47,0 %, 28,7 % et 18,2 %, respectivement). Un grand nombre d'associations liées à l'appartenance sexuelle et au facteur géographique se sont avérées les mêmes que celles relevées dans les enquêtes ciblant la population générale. Les comparaisons à des pairs non universitaires n'ont pas révélé des taux particulièrement élevés chez les étudiants universitaires. Parmi les étudiants ontariens du premier cycle, les taux de consommation de cannabis, d'hallucinogènes, de méthamphétamines, de crack et d'héroïne sont demeurés stables entre 1988 et 1998. La consommation de la cocaïne a diminué, passant de 4,8 % à 1,7 %. Les taux de consommation de drogues illicites n'étaient pas beaucoup plus élevés que ceux relevés chez la population non universitaire. D'autres questions de santé publique, tels que la consommation abusive d'alcool et les problèmes de santé mentale, sont plus pressantes que celles liées à la consommation de drogues illicites.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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  • CJNR is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal published by the McGill University School of Nursing since 1969. With world-wide circulation, CJNR's primary mandate is to publish original nursing research that develops basic knowledge for the discipline and examines the application of the knowledge in practice. Research related to education and history is also welcomed, as are methodological, theoretical, and review papers that advance nursing science. Letters or commentaries about published articles are encouraged. Learn more.
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