The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS) is a population survey of Ontario students in grades 7 through 12. The OSDUHS began in 1977 and is the longest ongoing school survey in Canada, and one of the longest in the world. This self-administered, anonymous survey is conducted across the province every two years with the purpose of identifying epidemiological trends in student drug use, mental health, physical health, gambling, bullying, and other risk behaviours, as well as identifying risk and protective factors. Typically, the OSDUHS surveys thousands of students in over 150 elementary and secondary schools across Ontario. The survey sample is considered representative of all students in grades 7-12 in publicly funded schools in Ontario (just under one million).
This survey is important because it provides current and reliable information about the health risk behaviours, attitudes and beliefs of Ontario adolescents, and tracks changes over time. Findings from the OSDUHS have been widely used by health, education, and government officials in setting health priorities and facilitating preventative policies, programs and services that address youths' needs.
The OSDUHS began as a drug use survey in 1977, but is now a broader study of adolescent health and well-being. Topics covered include tobacco, alcohol and other drug use and harmful consequences of use, mental health indicators, physical health indicators, health care utilization, body image, gambling and video gaming behaviours and problems, violence and bullying, criminal behaviours, school connectedness, and family life.
New topics in the 2013 survey included waterpipe ("hookah") use, synthetic cannabis use, helmet use while bicycling, and tanning bed use. The 2013 drug use report and the mental health and well-being report are both available to download. The 2015 cycle of the OSDUHS will begin data collection in schools in October 2014 and run until May 2015.
To learn more about the OSDUHS, please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)