Back to School #4: CCSA Report on Youth Alcohol Use

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This week we will focusing our Back to School posts on alcohol use among youth and post-secondary students.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) recently released several reports about alcohol use among post-secondary students, the first focusing on Youth Alcohol Use and Its Harms.

In this report, findings are presented from a joint venture with the community of Sherbrooke, Bishop’s University, and Université de Sherbrooke, to look at excessive drinking among youth. The authors highlight alcohol-related health problems in two areas:

  • Emergency room admissions for acute alcohol intoxication
  • Alcohol-related crime, such as assault, mischief, disorderly conduct, and impaired driving

According to the report, emergency medical interventions are often required for alcohol-related incidents. For example, in 2016-2017, support services teams performed approximately three interventions a month, and campus authorities had to call 9-1-1 approximately once a month to help a student involved in an alcohol-related incident.

More troubling, every two days between 2012 and 2017, a young person 12 to 24 years old went to the emergency room for an alcohol-related medical emergency. One in ten of these individuals had a blood alcohol content over 300 mg/dL, which means severe intoxication. Most individuals went to the emergency room on a Saturday night and the majority (76%) arrived by ambulance.

Among students 18 to 24 years of age, there were more emergency room visits during the last week of August, which corresponds with the start of the academic school year and initiations. Also, increased visits to the emergency room also coincided with Halloween, as visits were more numerous during the last week of October.

The infographic below presents the main results of the study.

CCSA infographic


Paradis, C., Goupil, J. P., Cyr, C., & Proulx, C. (2018). Youth alcohol use and its harms: Case study in the community of Sherbrooke. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

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