School surveys

The schools surveys component of the BC alcohol and other drug monitoring project sought to improve the information on adolescent substance use patterns and trends. This information can be used to monitor changes in adolescent substance use and can be correlated with other health and risk behaviour indicators. This component worked with two ongoing BC youth surveys, one provincial (Adolescent health survey, AHS) and one regional (East Kootenay adolescent drug use survey) and had contact with representatives of other youth surveys in other parts of Canada.

A pilot project, prior to the 2008 AHS, examined reliability and validity issues associated with large scale school-based population surveys. The pilot aimed to determine factors that can compromise survey reliability and suggested core indicators and questions that could be used across surveys. Researchers conducted analyses on the 2003 AHS to increase the ability for results’ comparison across other surveys both provincially and nationally. Additional questions regarding students’ substance use ‘last Saturday’ were incorporated into the 2008 survey to make it easier to explore students’ recent weekend use patterns. Another element of the ‘last Saturday’ question inquired specifically about the number of marijuana joints smoked at one time, as higher doses on a single occasion can be a strong predictor of acute harm.

In 2009, The Centre for Addictions Research of BC prepared the Adolescent substance use and related harms in British Columbia (PDF 524kb) in collaboration with the McCreary Centre Society. The bulletin draws on data from the 2008 AHS to examine adolescent substance use and related harms in British Columbia. The bulletin examines trends in substance use over time and also highlights risky use and related harms of alcohol and marijuana among high school students.

Statistics Canada weighted the data to ensure it was representative of youth in grades 7 through 12 in every region of the province. All comparisons and associations reported in this study have been tested and are statistically significant at p < .05. However, the graphs and charts show frequencies that are not necessarily statistically significant at every point.

Adolescent health survey

The Adolescent health survey is conducted every five years and examines a broad range of youth behaviours and about factors that can influence health during adolescence or in later life. Five of these surveys have been conducted since 1992.The AHS is conducted by the McCreary Centre Society in collaboration with the British Columbia government and public health system, and with the cooperation of BC’s school districts. Over 130,000 students have participated in the survey since 1992, including over 29,000 in 2013.

Results of the 2013 BC AHS can be found in From Hastings Street to Haida Gwaii (PDF 7.7mb).

East Kootenay adolescent drug use survey

Every two years the East Kootenay Addiction Services Society (EKASS) surveys students from grade 7-12 in the East Kootenay area to monitor changes in drug use patterns and attitudes amongst East Kootenay adolescents.

You can find the results of the latest survey here.