Pot use higher than BC average, school survey shows

  • Dec. 3, 2010 6:00 p.m.

A September survey of islands students in grades 7 to 12 has found that their use of alcohol is about the same as the provincial average, but their use of marijuana is significantly higher, superintendent Angus Wilson said at last week’s school board meeting (Nov. 30). The survey, done as part of the RCMP’s new Community Prevention and Education Continuum program, found that almost half – 46 percent – of students surveyed have used marijuana, Mr. Wilson said. Additionally, of the students who have used marijuana, 40 percent use it more than three times a week, he said. These rates are way above the provincial average, he said. On the other hand, the students’ use of alcohol is about the same as the provincial average, and is significantly below the rate for the northwest zone. The northwest has one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the province. The survey also asked students about their home and school life. “One positive thing is the students do seem to be connected to their schools and their culture,” Mr. Wilson told trustees. Mr. Wilson said he will make a full presentation on the survey results at the December school board meeting, but wanted to share a few highlights right now. The purpose of the survey, he said, is to give the people running the program an idea of what the situation is here. For example, a school district where significant numbers of students are using cocaine would have a different program than a school district where the drug of choice is marijuana. Students have been given the message that drugs and alcohol are bad many times, but this program is different, Mr. Wilson said. It will be looking for fresh ways to present information to teens, like how drug use can affect sports performance, or how spending on drugs and alcohol can affect one’s ability to save up for a new car.