Drug use and abuse is as old as mankind itself. Human beings have always had a desire to eat or drink substances that make them feel relaxed, stimulated, or euphoric. Wine was used at least from the time of the early Egyptians; narcotics from 4000 B.C.; and medicinal use of marijuana has been dated to 2737 B.
C. in China. But it was not until the nineteenth century that the active substances in drugs were extracted. There was a time in history when some of these newly discovered substances, such as morphine, laudanum, cocaine, were completely unregulated and prescribed freely by physicians for a wide variety of ailments.
Canada’s Drug of Choice: Marijuana
Contrary to popular belief the rate of illicit drug use is actually on the decline. The most commonly used drug in Canada is Marijuana.
According to the 2004 Canadian Addiction Survey, 44.5% of Canadians surveyed said that that used pot at least once in their lifetime.14.1% reported that they have used marijuana in the past twelve months. Those individuals that have used in the past year varies greatly, with 20.8% not having used at all in the past 3 months, while 204.
9% claiming that they have used only once in the past 3 months. 16% reported that they used monthly, 20.3% was weekly, with only 18.1% reporting to be using daily. The province with the highest usage is British Columbia with an average that is significantly higher than the national level, at 52.1%.
British Columbia also has the highest past year usage compared to the national average at 16.8%.
As with alcohol, men (50.1%) are more likely than their female counterparts (39.2%) to have used marijuana during their life time. The same sample of men (18.
2%) and women (10.2%) have used marijuana in the past year. This is up from 5.7% for men and 2.4% for women in 1993, over three times higher for the men and four times for the women. The younger generations, like men, are more likely to use marijuana, with approximately 70% of those between the ages of 18-24 years old having tired it at least once.
The youngest age group sampled, 15-17 years old, almost 30% of them used cannabis in the past year, peaking at 47% with the age group18 ; 19 year olds. After this point usage within the past year tends to decline with only 10% of the population surveyed claiming they still use marijuana.
One pattern that is constant with marijuana usage is that the less the individual has of something, the lower their usage rate is. Pertaining to education, those without a high school diploma, 34.9% claim they have used at least once in their life, while this number increases to 52.4% for those with some post secondary education, and then declines with the obtainment of a university degree.
This pattern continues into an individuals income bracket, with 42.9% if those with low income using marijuana within their lifetime. This number increases to 44.6% for those with a moderate income and continues to increase into the high income bracket with 54.8% for lifetime experience with pot.
With marijuana taking the number one spot, one in six Canadians has used other forms of illicit drugs.
After cannabis, the second most used drug among Canadians is hallucinogens at 11.4%, followed by cocaine with 10.6%, claiming that they’ve used this substance during their lifetime. Coming after cocaine is speed (6.4%), then in a distant forth is ecstasy, with 4.1% reporting to have used these illicit drugs at least once.
Last on the list are injectable drugs, such as heroine and steroids, and inhalants. According to those who participated in the CAS less then 1% of those used injectable or inhalant drugs. Unlike marijuana, the remaining illicit drugs have a low usage rate, with only 1% of the survey population having used these substances within the past twelve month, with the exception of cocaine use (1.95). All together, 14.5% of those surveyed reported to have used cocaine, hallucinogens, LSD, speed, heroin, ecstasy, inhalants, or steroids the past year.
As with cannabis, men have the tendency to have a higher rate of consumption of illicit drugs than women. 18.7% of the men in this .