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West Coast High in Drug Polls

By Hempology | March 18, 2007

Pot, Cigarettes, Alcohol Start Early In Vancouver

Drug and alcohol habits of Langara College students mirror the findings of a recent Vancouver Coastal Health survey.

The Voice surveyed 10 students to compare VCH findings to drug and alcohol patterns of Langara students.

VCH conducted a citywide survey of approximately 500 youths aged 16 to 24 in the summer of 2006. Almost 90 per cent of youth tried alcohol, 70 per cent tried marijuana and 56 per cent smoked an entire cigarette. Forty per cent chose alcohol as their drug of choice.

Marijuana and tobacco were the only substances reportedly used daily and almost half of the youth said they used alcohol once or twice per week.

Five VCH research assistants hit Vancouver streets asking youth about their knowledge and experience with alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana.

The aims of this survey were to monitor drug use patterns, examine causes of substance and identify new or emerging drug and alcohol issues.

Langara students were hesitant to discuss the issue and were reluctant to have their answers made public. But the results of the Langara survey were similar to those of the VCH.

Six out of 10 randomly selected students claim they tried marijuana before tobacco, yet most of them said their first cigarette was around the same time. Similar to the VCH survey, Langara students perceive marijuana as the least harmful or risky drug.

Only four out of 10 openly admitted to trying other recreational drugs. For males the most common was cocaine and for females, ecstasy. Of these students, all reported that marijuana came first.

Most Langara students polled said alcohol and other drugs were easily accessible when they were younger and continue to circulate at a high volume.

The most common place to be offered drugs is house parties and this is also the most vulnerable time because of heavy peer pressure.

Only two of the 10 claimed to have never tried tobacco or marijuana, while nine of the 10 students said they have tried alcohol and more than half use it regularly.

Alanna Nielsen, a Langara general arts student, is not surprised by the results of the survey.

“It seems that generations are being introduced to drugs and alcohol younger and younger. They don’t see it as a big deal and neither does our society. It’s not shocking but it’s really depressing,” she said.

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