A new Canadian Red Cross study has found Canada’s youth are decreasing their alcohol consumption while the rest of the country increases its cannabis and booze use.
The June segment of the pan-Canadian study found 26 per cent of adults who drank in the past two weeks, reported drinking more than they normally do, while 11 per cent reported drinking less.
Cannabis use similarly rose 27 per cent while 12 per cent reported using less.
That’s a 15 per cent net gain in the Canadian consumption of booze and cannabis, the study noted.
“Most young adults, 66 per cent, are consuming no more — or even less — alcohol than prior to Covid-19,” Paul Hebert, Medical and Science Advisor for the Canadian Red Cross, said in a statement. “While that is encouraging, we remain concerned for those heading in the other direction, as the pandemic is often a magnifier of pre-existing vulnerabilities.”
The pandemic has indeed proved fatal for other groups of people who use drugs.
The ongoing overdose crisis, Canada’s second and much less talked about public health crisis, had seen fatalities spike as overdose prevention sites close their doors and people increasingly use drugs while alone or while isolated.
The poisoned opioid drug supply killed 170 British Columbians in May alone — a record number of monthly overdose deaths — and has claimed 400 lives since the province introduced Covid-19 measures in April, CBC reported. In comparison, the novel coronavirus has killed 167 people in B.C.
During a global pandemic with economic uncertainty on the rise, people are reporting feeling increasingly hopeless and anxious, the Red Cross found. The pandemic has magnified negative feelings, especially for young adults, the report said. Sadness, loneliness and hopelessness have spiked over the three months of the the study. Nearly half of those surveyed reported feeling anxiety, restlessness and unease over the past three days.
And that’s raising concerns about the chunk of the population who are struggling, says Canadian Centre on Substance Use CEO Rita Notarandrea.
“Substance use during Covid-19 has not increased for the majority of young adults, but we need to be concerned for the segment that is not coping well,” Notarandrea said. “This appears to be related to stress, anxiety, loneliness, boredom and a lack of regular routine – but more research and analysis is needed in this area.”
The survey was conducted by Leger between June 3–9 and surveyed 2,280 adults.
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