News Release Archive


The percentage of Nova Scotia's junior and senior high school
students reporting no drug use whatsoever has remained stable at
37 per cent since 1991 according to the results of the Nova
Scotia Student Drug Use 1996 Survey released today by the
Department of Health in conjunction with Drug Awareness Week.

The drug use survey is the first time the Department of Health
has collected such extensive data on the prevalence of drug use
by youth. An earlier, more restricted survey was conducted in
Nova Scotia in 1991.

The same 1996 drug use survey was also conducted in New
Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island as
part of a joint project to gather standardized data for
comparative use. It is the first time in Canada a region has
combined resources and expertise to look at the status of youth
drug use.

"We will use the information we now have as benchmark data to
determine how to best address the issue of youth drug use in Nova
Scotia," said Brian Wilbur, director, drug dependency services,
Nova Scotia Department of Health. "It is a first for the province
and will help us to work with communities, students, parents and
others to address this health concern."

The data collected from the survey is being shared among the four
provinces, with government and non-government organizations,
school boards, school councils and the regional health boards.

Some of the key findings of the survey include:

-  the use of alcohol, inhalants, prescription tranquillizers,
   cocaine, heroin and barbiturates has been stable in Nova
   Scotia since 1991;

-  more students in Nova Scotia are using cigarettes, cannabis,
   LSD, stimulants, psilocybin or mescaline, non-prescribed
   tranquillizers and PCP since 1991. There is also an increase 
   in the number of students individually reporting using all
   three of the most common drugs -- alcohol, tobacco and

-  54 per cent of students in nova Scotia drank alcohol at least
   once in the last 12 months, which is consistent with the
   1991 findings and is similar with all four provinces;

-  35 per cent of students in Nova Scotia smoked cigarettes
   during the last 12 months, which is similar with the other

- four per cent of students surveyed indicated that they needed
   help with alcohol and drug related problems and two per cent
   said they got help;

-  80 per cent of junior high and 50 per cent of senior high
   students in Nova Scotia recall classes on drug education.

The 1996 drug use survey also asked questions about risk
behaviour related to drug use such as being a passenger with an
impaired driver. Thirty one per cent of students surveyed
reported being passengers with a driver who had too much to

The changing adolescent drug using pattern is very similar to
changes reported in other Canadian and international studies.

The Nova Scotia Student Drug Use 1996 Survey was a self-reported
confidential and anonymous questionnaire conducted in the
classroom by research assistants. Approximately 14,000 students
participated in the survey in the Atlantic Provinces including
3,790 in Nova Scotia. The data was collected in March, 1996.

The survey was an initiative of the Nova Scotia Department of
health drug dependency Services in collaboration with the
Department of Education and Culture and the Department of
Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University.
Interprovincial partners were the Departments of Health drug
dependency services and the Departments of Education in New
Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.
Support for the standardization of the survey was supplied by the
National Health Research Development Program.

Copies of the Nova Scotia Student Drug Use 1996 Survey Technical
Report are available at the Nova Scotia Government Bookstore,
1700 Granville St., Halifax, phone (toll-free) 1-800-526-6575 or


Contact: Sue McKeage  902-424-3581

trp                   Nov. 20, 1996 - 2:45 p.m.