Pubdate: Wed, 01 Dec 2004
Source: Ring, The (U of Victoria, CN BC Edu)
Copyright: 2004 The Ring


There's some good news in a recent national survey on substance use,
says the UVic-based Centre for Addictions Research of BC. The results
show that although the use of illicit drugs may be on the rise, these
substances are harming fewer people.

"This could be because some people are learning to use substances in
less harmful ways," says CAR-BC's communication and resource director,
Dan Reist. "This is good information because it means that the harm
reduction approach to drug education may be working. However, the
survey also shows that nearly eight per cent of British Columbians
report problems related to their own alcohol use. Most of these are
heavy drinkers."

The Canadian Addictions Survey (, released on Nov. 24,
provides a detailed picture of how Canadians aged 15 years and older
use alcohol, cannabis and other drugs, and the impact that use has on
their physical, mental and social well-being. The survey shows that
use of alcohol, cannabis and other drugs has increased in Canada over
the past decade--with alcohol and cannabis continuing to be the most
commonly used drugs. Of particular concern is the increase in heavy
drinking and cannabis use among 18 to 24-year-olds.

The B.C. Ministry of Health Services contributed $82,000 and CAR-BC
added another $20,000 to the survey so that the sample of B.C.
respondents would increase by 2,000, tripling the number of B.C.
residents surveyed and providing an opportunity for more detailed analysis.

"Now that we have a clearer picture of substance use in Canada,
researchers at CAR-BC can provide evidence-based advice to inform
public policy and programs on issues of vital concern to our
communities in B.C." says Dr. Martin Taylor, UVic's vice-president

CAR-BC's mission is to facilitate population health research on the
understanding, prevention, and treatment of problematic substance use.
Over the next year, CAR-BC and the Mental Health Evaluation and
Community Consultation Unit at UBC will analyse and study the B.C.
data in more detail. They'll issue a series of reports that will guide
policy development and service planning on addictions in B.C.

According to the recently released B.C. Ministry of Health Services
document, Every Door is the Right Door, approximately 33,000 British
Columbians have a dependence on illicit drugs.
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