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Pot, alcohol most common substances that lead to hospitalization of teens, young adults: report

Last Updated Sep 19, 2019 at 11:46 am PDT

(Source: UBC handout)
Summary

Almost 25,000 Canadian teens and young adults were hospitalized last year because of substance abuse

Canadian Institute for Health Information says many of them are using drugs and alcohol to mask mental health issues

VANCOUVER – Marijuana and alcohol have been identified as the most common substances leading to hospitalization of youth aged 10 to 24 across the country in a report that highlights the prevalence of mental-health conditions as contributing factors.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says 23,500 people in that age group were hospitalized for harm caused by substance use, amounting to an average of 65 hospitalizations every day between April 2017 and March 2018.

Cannabis was documented in almost 40 per cent of hospitalizations overall and alcohol was associated with 26 per cent of hospital stays.

The report says of the youth who stayed in hospital for cannabis use, 81 per cent received care for a mental-health issue such as anxiety and 49 per cent of opioid-related stays also involved care for mental-health treatment.

It shows Saskatchewan had the highest rate of hospitalizations at 667 per 100,000 population, mostly due to cannabis, followed by alcohol and stimulants that could include methamphetamine and Ritalin, prescribed for ADHD.

Jean Harvey of the institute says the data show only the “the tip of the iceberg” because visits to emergency rooms, family doctors’ offices and addiction centres are not included, and neither is information on deaths from overdose.