Pubdate: Sat, 04 Mar 2006
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Times Colonist
Author: Pamela Fayerman, CanWest News Service
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)
Bookmark: (Club Drugs)


6 Vancouver, Victoria High Schools Surveyed

Fourteen per cent of high school students surveyed in Vancouver and 
Victoria say they have tried crystal methamphetamine and other "club 
drugs," but students who are gay or bisexual are 17 times more likely 
than their non-gay counterparts to use such drugs, according to a 
study based on a survey of 607 13- to 19-year olds at six unnamed high schools.

Study investigators, including Dr. Doug McGhee, medical director of 
the Victoria Youth clinic, said there are two possible reasons why 
there is an elevated risk of club drug use (so named because of their 
frequent use at raves and dance venues) among the 2.5 per cent of 
students who identified themselves as gay or bisexual in the survey.

The first is a greater prevalence of use within the social networks 
of such students. The second might be "problems with early 
self-identification as gay or bisexual."

The study, published in the current B.C. Medical Journal, shows that 
13.6 per cent of teenagers had reported using either crystal meth, 
ecstasy, ketamine or GHB, the date rape drug, but that most of the 
use was only occasional or experimental. Of the 27 students who said 
they used crystal meth, for example, only a handful of students said 
they used it daily or weekly.

Thomas Lampinen, an epidemiologist with the B.C. Centre for 
Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the lead author of the study, said in an 
interview there is not a crystal meth epidemic in high schools.

The conclusion is based on the confidential, anonymous survey, 
conducted in 2003 when students in six schools completed the surveys 
in their career and personal-planning classes.

But the trend for drug use to be so much higher in gay or bisexual 
students is a concern, Lampinen said.

It led him and his co-investigators -- McGhee and Dr. Ian Martin, a 
physician at Three Bridges Community Health Centre in Vancouver -- to 
conclude that school-based anti-drug initiatives may not be as 
important in reaching regular, current, drug-using teenagers as 
programs that focus on street youth and gay or bisexual teens who are 
more likely to use drugs on a more frequent basis.

The names of the schools were not disclosed in the published study.
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