This study examines drug selling among representative samples of high school students in Ontario. It involves three approaches, (i) examining the trend in drug selling between 1983 and 1989, (ii) assessing differences between sellers and non-sellers on demographic characteristics, levels of alcohol and drug use, and problems, and (iii) drawing detailed profiles of drug seller types. Drug selling declined considerably between 1983 and 1989. Sellers were more likely to be males and to use alcohol and drugs more often than non-sellers. Sellers also had more alcohol and drug problems and engaged in more delinquent acts. Drug sellers who sold cannabis only were less frequent users of drugs, less likely to have drug problems, and were also delinquent.
We describe the prevalence of bush party (an outdoor gathering of youth) attendance and examine predictors of attendance and of driving after drinking at bush parties.
The 1995 Ontario Student Drug Use Survey (OSDUS) data on students (n = 1,853) in schools across the province in grades 7, 9, 11 and 13 are employed to estimate prevalence of bush party attendance within the previous 12 months. The 1994 Graduated Licensing Study (GLS), a multi-community survey of drivers (n = 1,157, 53.6% male) in grades 11 and 12 in Ontario, data are employed to study predictors of attendance and of drinking-driving.
Based on the OSDUS, the prevalence of bush party attendance is 37.6%. Based on the GLS, 38.4% attended bush parties, and among attenders 71.5% drank at bush parties, 63.5% observed drinking-driving, 16.1% rode with a drinking-driver and 16.6% drove after drinking at bush parties. Logistic regression reveals that attendance at bush parties is positively associated with number of other places alcohol was consumed, tobacco use, number of alcohol-related problems, number of kilometers ever driven, sensation seeking and northern residents. Among attenders who drank at bush parties, males were three and a half times more likely to drive after drinking at a bush party, and the probability of drinking and driving increased with the number of other drugs used.
Despite important differences in the design and purpose of the two surveys, both indicate that bush party attendance is prevalent among adolescents. Driving after drinking at these events is common and warrants community action.
Research on physical activity and fitness indicates their importance in the prevention of disease and promotion of health. However, levels of physical activity have been shown to vary significantly by age, sex and a wide range of additional factors. This paper examines age and sex differences in physical inactivity among 13 to 19 year olds participating in the 1990 Ontario Health Survey. Findings from the bivariate analysis suggest a major increase in physical inactivity between ages 15 and 16. When logistic regression is used to examine the adjusted effects of predictor variables on physical inactivity, the effects of age remain significant. However, the odds of inactivity at one year increments are not significant. There are significant increased odds of inactivity associated with such factors as sex, friends' (activity) participation, perceived future health problems, and perceived health status. The public health implications of the findings suggest that those responsible for developing programs and policies to increase physical activity among teenagers should consider the critical years of decreased activity and the factors that might explain why this decline occurs.
This study aimed to describe the natural course of DSM-III-R alcohol disorders as a function of age at first alcohol use and to investigate the influence of early use as a risk factor for progression to the development of alcohol disorders, exclusive of the effect of confounding influences.
Data were obtained from a community sample (N=5,856) of lifetime drinkers participating in the 1990-1991 Mental Health Supplement of the Ontario Health Survey.
Survival analyses revealed a rapid progression to alcohol-related harm among those who reported having their first drink at ages 11-14. After 10 years, 13.5% of the subjects who began to drink at ages 11 and 12 met the criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse, and 15.9% had a diagnosis of dependence. Rates for subjects who began to drink at ages 13 and 14 were 13.7% and 9.0%, respectively. In contrast, rates for those who started drinking at ages 19 and older were 2.0% and 1.0%. Unexpectedly, a delay in progression to harm was observed for the youngest drinkers (ages 10 and under). Hazard regression analyses revealed a nonlinear effect of age at first alcohol use, marked by an elevated risk of developing disorders among subjects first using alcohol at ages 11-14.
First use of alcohol at ages 11-14 greatly heightens the risk of progression to the development of alcohol disorders and therefore is a reasonable target for intervention strategies that seek to delay first use as a means of averting problems later in life.
Comment In: Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Sep;158(9):153011532753
This paper reports a study of alcohol- and drug-use by older clients in relation to their health and well-being. The sample of 349 persons was drawn from adults aged 60 and over living in senior citizens apartments in Toronto. Interviews were done in several languages. The results indicated that males and those aged 60 to 65 were less happy and healthy, had fewer social supports, and more alcohol-related problems. Drug-related problems were less numerous but occurred equally for both sexes. These results indicate that new alcohol programs are needed for the elderly, and these should focus on males, especially the younger elderly in transition from work to retirement.
The effect of happy hour discounts on alcohol consumption has become an important policy concern. Few studies, however, have examined this relationship. To examine the impact of banning happy hours in Ontario, an observational study of patron alcohol consumption was conducted in five taverns before and after the ban. Aggregate alcohol sales and impaired-driving charges were also collected. The results indicated no significant preban-postban differences in alcohol consumption among all individuals nor within taverns. Aggregate alcohol sales data also indicated no significant trends over a similar period. Although a significant decline for impaired-driving charges was suggested, it could not be causally attributed to the independent effect of the happy hour ban. Substantial price reductions may be required before increased alcohol consumption is discernable. Future research could focus on this issue.