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2005 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

2005 Ontario Student Drug Use Survey (OSDUS): Highlights


  • In 2005, approximately two-thirds (62%) of all students report drinking during the past year. This represents 603,400 students in Ontario. (vs. 66% in 2003)
  • One-in-ten (10%) students drink alcohol at least once a week
  • Hazardous drinking varied significantly between males and females (18% vs. 14%) and by grade (2% of 7th graders to 30% of 12th graders)


  • More students in 2005 report being drug free (including alcohol & tobacco) during the past year compared to 2003 (36% vs. 32%)
  • In 2005, 7% of students report using alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and at least one other drug (vs. 10% in 2003)
  • In 2005, the substances most available to students are cigarettes and alcohol (57% of students indicated it would be "easy" or "very easy to get these") and cannabis (46%)
  • Among the behaviours surveyed, students felt the greatest risk of harm is associated with regular marijuana use (53%), followed by trying ecstasy (40%), trying cocaine (36%), daily smoking (28%) and trying cannabis (21%)
  • 55% of students believe that drug use in their school is higher today than a few years ago
  • Past year drug use for OxyContin 1%(new data), methamphetamine 2.2% (vs. 3.3% in 2003), heroin .9% (vs. 1.4% in 2003) and ecstasy 4.5% (vs. 4.1% in 2003)

Regional & Sex Differences

  • In Toronto, heroin use was above the provincial average in 2005, however Toronto students (51%) are least likely to drink compared to students in the other three regions
  • In the North, use of drugs such as OxyContin, cannabis, and hallucinogens was above the provincial average
  • In the West, use of crack and cocaine was above the provincial average
  • In the East, use of heroin, cocaine and alcohol were below the provincial average
  • Females are more likely than males to report both hazardous drinking and elevated psychological distress (8% vs. 5%, and in 2003 10% vs. 6%)
  • 7.6% of males vs. 5.6% of females reported use of hallucinogens in 2005
  • 25.1% of males vs. 20.2% of females report binge drinking (5+ drinks on one occasion) in 2005 (2003 rates 29.4% vs. 23.8%).
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