The average age of first use of alcohol among youth 15 to 24 years of age is 16.0 years.
Major findings from the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) 2011
Among Canadians 15 years and older, the prevalence of past-year cannabis use decreased from 10.7% in 2010 to 9.1%.
The prevalence of past-year cannabis use decreased since 2004 for males (18.2% vs. 12.2%), females (10.2% vs. 6.2%) and youth aged 15-24 years (37.0% vs. 21.6%).
Among youth, aged 15-24 years, past-year use of at least one of 5 illicit drugs (cocaine or crack, speed, hallucinogens (excluding salvia), ecstasy, and heroin) decreased from 11.3% in 2004 to 4.8%.
The rate of drug use by youth 15-24 years of age remains much higher than that reported by adults 25 years and older: three times higher for cannabis use (21.6% versus 6.7%), and five times higher for past-year use of any one of five drugs excluding cannabis (4.8% versus 1.1%).
The rate of past-year psychoactive pharmaceutical use decreased among Canadians aged 15 years and older from 26.0% in 2010 to 22.9%. Of those who indicated they had used an opioid pain reliever, a stimulant or a sedative or tranquilizer in the past year, 3.2% reported they abused such a drug. Abuse is use for the experience, the feeling caused, to get high or for other non-prescribed reasons.
Among Canadians 15 years and older, the prevalence of past-year alcohol use was 78.0%, not statistically different from previous years.
Less than three quarters of youth (70.8%) reported consuming alcohol in the past year. This is a decrease from 2004 when 82.9% of youth reported past-year use of alcohol.
Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines were received in November 2011 by the Canadian federal, provincial and territorial health ministers. Of the five guidelines, the first two apply to all Canadians and address long-term (chronic) effects like liver disease and certain cancers, and short-term (acute) effects such as injuries and overdoses, respectively. In 2011, 14.4% of Canadians aged 15 years and older exceeded the recommended quantity of alcohol outlined in guideline 1 for chronic risk and 10.1% exceeded the recommended quantity of alcohol outlined in guideline 2 for acute risk.
Latest Statistics from the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS)