In 2017, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) conducted the Ontario Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS). This survey gathers information on drug and alcohol use, perceptions, and harms from students in grades 7-12. In 2017, 11 435 students from 52 school board participated. This survey is considered representative of all students in Ontario.
Some facts related to opioids:
- One out of ten (11%) of students reported using prescription opioid pain relievers without their own prescription at least once in the past year
- 1% reported using fentanyl at least once in the past year
- There was a significant increase in both males and females using nonmedicinal opioid pain relievers from 1999-2017
- 8% of gr. 9-12 students in the merged Waterloo Wellington + Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Norfolk local health integration network (LHIN) reported using non-medicinal opioids
- 6% of gr. 9-12 students in the merged Waterloo Wellington + Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Norfolk LHIN reported that it is ‘Easy or Very Easy’ to get nonmedicinal prescription opioids
You can reduce the risk of teenagers in your life using prescription opioids for nonmedicinal purposes. If you are currently using prescription opioids, make sure they are locked up and check them from time to time to make sure none are missing. If you have unused prescription opioids (e.g. expired, filled but not finished), you can return them through the Ontario Medications Return Program (OMRP).
Locking up your medications or returning unused prescriptions to a pharmacy also means young children cannot accidentally swallow pills that they might think are candy. Make sure to keep all medications out of reach as the doses prescribed for adults can be deadly to young children.